San Diego, a populous city on the Pacific coast, is an amazing place to live. Whether you live there already or are planning a move, finding the best cell phone coverage in San Diego is essential to making the most out of your time in the area. Coverage peters out around the coast, but different networks have strengths and weaknesses around the city. This article will cover the best cell phone coverage in San Diego and why each of these carriers makes it into our top three.
Our research found that AT&T, Verizon, and Tello Mobile are the top three for best phone coverage in San Diego. This article features detailed information on the following:
San Diego’s many beaches make speeds and coverage vary more than in other areas. The coverage in the city, however, is quite excellent among the three major networks. There is almost complete 5G coverage in city limits, making every one of the three major carriers an excellent choice for coverage in the city. The best cell phone coverage in San Diego, however, goes to AT&T. They win the crown due to the reliability of their 5G network, something that they have over the other two major providers.
The top three carriers in San Diego are AT&T, Verizon, and Tello Mobile.
AT&T separates itself from the pack with its high coverage in San Diego. Verizon, with its 5G Ultra Wideband network, is a strong second vying for the best phone coverage in San Diego. Along with T-Mobile, these three companies are the major wireless networks in the United States. This means they own and maintain their own mobile network. For customers, it means they offer bigger plans with faster, priority data at a high cost each month.
Our third pick is Tello Mobile, our favorite MVNO to provide the best cell phone coverage in San Diego. MVNOs, like Tello Mobile, rent their bandwidth from the big three networks to give their customers cheaper access to data. These lower prices are possible because their plans often offer limited high-speed data and less data priority, meaning there is a greater chance of data throttling in times of high usage. There are many MVNOs on each network. Tello Mobile uses Verizon’s coverage, and they made it onto our list because of their excellently priced low-data plans.
Let’s take a look at which of these carriers use the network that gives people in San Diego the best phone coverage.
AT&T provides the best cell phone coverage in San Diego with its reliable service and fast network. Every major wireless network is hustling to roll out 5G coverage in the USA, and AT&T is currently your best bet for San Diego. Their 5G network is very strong and will give you high-speed data almost everywhere in the city. Beaches, in particular, like Carlsbad and Coronado, are where AT&T really shines. The coverage extends further into the surf than the competition, meaning AT&T users on the beach receive full-speed data. In contrast, Verizon and T-Mobile customers are on the edge of their company’s service and, as a result, have much slower speeds.
Plan: AT&T offers three unlimited plans at various price points. Their price is comparable to the plans at Verizon.
AT&T offers three unlimited plans.
There are few surprises in AT&T’s unlimited plan pricing. Like Verizon and T-Mobile, these plans start at a very high price point before any multi-line savings. Opening a single-line account with a major wireless company is always expensive, and while there are some great new customer deals out there, we caution you to look at the contracts and ties that come with the deal. Many lock you into paying more over a few years than you initially saved. With three cell phone plans, AT&T has a basic plan with few bells and whistles, a medium plan, and a premium plan with many extras.
When you are walking around the trendy spots of Hillcrest or North Park, you may notice slowdowns if you have basic high-speed data, as these spots are usually swarming with young professionals who are on their phones for all manner of bandwidth-consuming activities. We recommend starting with the starter plan. If you notice data slowdowns with some regularity during your travels in San Diego and you wish to avoid them, then a switch to one of their higher-tier plans is more than worthwhile.
Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network brings them just behind AT&T in the race for the best cell phone coverage in San Diego. While Verizon’s lightning-fast 5G network (download speeds upwards of 100 Mbps) is incredible, it is only available in select locations in the country. The dark red spots in the coverage map denote their most powerful 5G network, leaving a lot of areas with spotty coverage. There are reports of new, 5G-capable phones have spotty coverage in areas of San Diego because they reach for a slow 5G connection rather than a strong 4G LTE connection.
This is a problem seen around the country. Imagine walking to the edge of your house's WiFi zone. Your signal gets super weak, but there are several feet where your phone remains on WiFi coverage instead of switching to the network, where you can’t load anything. That’s what happens if you are in an area with weak (but receivable) 5G coverage. Verizon users all over the country have noted that problem with their devices.
While it is common, it only happens in a few particular areas in San Diego. Verizon outputs some of the best cell phone coverage in San Diego in the majority of the metro area and beyond.
Plan: Verizon offers a pair of unlimited plans. One has unlimited high-speed data, and the other has unlimited premium high-speed data.
Verizon offers two unlimited plans.
While expensive, multi-line savings make these two plans much more affordable. On top of unlimited premium data, the unlimited plus comes with the following:
Regardless of the number of lines, the unlimited plus plan is $15 more per line on your account. This is a lot, but the premium data comes in handy in spaces with high data usage. It is hard to gauge how important premium data is. There are many areas around the country where Verizon’s network is strong enough to keep everyone using full-speed data, but there are a lot of other areas, especially in big cities, where data is slowed down almost every day. We recommend starting on the less expensive plan and checking your data speeds for a month or two. San Diego is a big city, but new networks are strong. If you notice slow data, we recommend switching to a more expensive plan if you have the budget for it.
Alongside the base plans, Verizon offers a package of optional add-ons that each add $10 to your cell phone bill. The best part is that you can skip them entirely and stick to the base plan price, but if you find any Verizon add-ons you like, adding them to your plan always saves a few dollars on the service.
Our favorite MVNO in San Diego is Tello Mobile. They are known for their incredibly affordable cell phone plans that let you save big on your phone bill.
Plan: Tello Mobile offers a variety of plans between 0 GBs of high-speed data and 25 GBs of high-speed data.
Tello Mobile is an excellent choice for people interested in low-data plans. They offer the following plans:
Tello Mobile uses Verizon’s network for coverage, giving its users fantastic nationwide 4G LTE and 5G data. Since none of these plans offer unlimited high-speed data, you need to watch your consumption. If you chew through the 25 GB of allocated high-speed data quickly each month, these plans are not for you. If you can ration your data, however, you will save a ton on your cell phone bill each month.
While not included on this list, T-Mobile has an excellent presence in San Diego as well. Their data is notoriously unreliable in the wider area surrounding San Diego, but you can expect solid coverage the majority of the time on T-Mobile. Alongside the big three, there are many MVNOs like Tello Mobile that provide affordable and reliable coverage in the area. In this section, we want to highlight two of our favorite MVNOs, Mint Mobile and Visible Wireless. You’ve already seen Tello Mobile, which is our favorite for low-data single-line accounts. Mint Mobile is our favorite for medium-data multi-line accounts, and Visible Wireless is our favorite for high-data single-line accounts.
Mint Mobile operates on T-Mobile's network and is known for affordable cell phone plans. It is best for medium-data users because their unlimited plan is not unlimited high-speed data. Mint’s unlimited plan comes with 35 GB of high-speed data before your data is throttled to 3G speeds.
Visible Wireless is our favorite MVNO for high-data users. They only have two plans, both of which provide unlimited high-speed data. Visible’s plans start at $30, and they don’t have any multi-line savings. Their inexpensive single-line plans make it our top choice for anyone interested in opening a single-line account with unlimited high-speed data.
AT&T provides the best phone coverage in San Diego, but Verizon is a close second. They are both upgrading their service in the area to provide faster and more reliable coverage in the future.
While all three major carriers have excellent signals in San Diego, T-Mobile lags behind the competition.
In the larger Bay Area, AT&T came out ahead among serious competition.
Use really.com to compare!
AT&T provides the best cell phone coverage in San Diego due to its hyper-reliable network coverage extending throughout the city. If you want more info about plans available in San Diego, compare carriers at Really.com to decide which phone carrier is best for you.