Best Phone Coverage in Alaska: Cell Service in the Last Frontier

Kyle Reyes
July 10, 2023

With its unbroken, beautiful wilderness, Alaska is a sight to see. Alaska accounts for around 17% of the total land area in the United States but boasts only around 730,000 residents. This fact and being disconnected from mainland USA results in sparse cell phone coverage from the big three carriers.  Since the big USA networks are only now building infrastructure in earnest in Alaska, there is a local alternative that does a great job. GCI, Alaska’s local cellular network, provides the best cell phone coverage in the area. GCI is the way to go for Alaskan residents. 

Before you decide what plan to go with, check out our guide on how to choose the best phone plan that works for you!

Our research found that GCI, AT&T, and Cricket Wireless are the top three for the best phone coverage in Alaska. This article features detailed information on the following: 

  • Map of the fastest cell phone coverage in Alaska
  • Local and national carriers that cover Alaska
  • Frequently asked questions about phone coverage in Alaska
Alaska Mobile Network Coverage Map | Red is 2G, Yellow is 4G, Green is 5G || Source

Phone Coverage in Alaska at a Glance

Data Coverage in Cities and Towns on Major and Local Networks

This coverage photo tells a very different story than what we see in the continental United States. Alaska’s high-speed data coverage is very low from major and local networks because of Alaska’s big stretches of low to no-population areas. Building the infrastructure to better cover Alaska, through its many miles of unbroken nature, would be very expensive and not affect that many people. 

Verizon and AT&T have built their networks around the state's most populated regions, and GCI, the local carrier, has coverage in those areas while building more towers in towns and other higher-traffic areas. GCI provides the best cell phone coverage in Alaska, and because it is a local carrier, it dedicates all its efforts to making the best network possible in Alaska. If you live in Alaska, GCI is the way to go. 

That being said, AT&T also has a solid network in the area, and users can roam on GCI’s network, albeit at slower speeds. Verizon and T-Mobile have similar agreements but do not provide as good base coverage as AT&T. To put it in perspective, Verizon covers about 2% of the total area of Alaska, and AT&T covers about 11%. Let’s jump into Alaska's best cell phone coverage through local and national cell phone carriers. 

Local and National Cell Phone Carriers in Alaska

The top three carriers in Alaska are GCI, AT&T, and Cricket Wireless. 

The following section is the best cell phone coverage in Alaska geared towards people living there or making an extended stay. If you are visiting Alaska, your carrier’s roaming agreement will get you data during your travels whenever there is data to be had. Your data will likely be slower than you are used to where you live, but you will have service in Anchorage and Juneau, along with numerous towns and highways. 

GCI is your best bet for Alaskan cell phone coverage if you are moving to or living in Alaska. Their coverage far surpasses the major networks that have taken up residence there, and they offer great deals on a lot of high-speed data that will let you keep service in all of the major areas of the state. Let’s look at what GCI has to offer. With the popularity of eSIM phones and dual-SIM devices, an inexpensive GCI plan as a second line on your phone is a great way to get the best cell phone coverage in Alaska. 

GCI Coverage in Alaska || Source

#1 in Alaska: GCI 

Fastest 5G and 4G LTE in Alaska

GCI is a telecommunications network in Alaska that’s been working for over 40 years to provide service and connectivity to the populated and more remote parts of the country. While the bulk of their network resides in Alaska, they have roaming agreements with major networks, so their cell phones continue to function in the wider United States. GCI boasts coverage to 97% of Alaskans as they have focused their efforts in the population centers of this large state. Even though their coverage map looks pretty empty, it bears reminding that a lot of that space is untouched wilderness. 

Since GCI is a small network (relative to major wireless networks in the USA) they are constantly improving and servicing the towers and access points on their network to provide the best service possible. With 100% of their focus on this state, it is no surprise that they are a clear winner for the best cell phone coverage in Alaska. 

Price: Varies

Plan: GCI has four postpaid plans along with numerous prepaid plans ranging in price from $60 to $95 a month before multi-line savings. 

GCI is currently outputting a 5G network in Alaska that works in tandem with their 4G LTE network. GCI’s cell phone plans are as follows: 

  • GCI Explore — $60/$40/$20
  • GCI Peak — $70/$50/$20
  • GCI Summit — $85/$65/$20
  • GCI Apex — $95/$85/$45

GCI’s multi-line savings are slightly different from the other major networks. For example, a three-line GCI Peak plan costs the account holder $140 a month, paying $70 for line one, $50 for line two, and $20 for line three. This differs from AT&T’s model, where a single-line plan is $65 a line, and a two-line plan pays $60 for each line, bringing the total to $120. 

GCI’s cell phone plans offer two types of data: Unlimited Market Full-Speed data and Extended Market data. You can find more information about what areas are unlimited and what are extended markets on their website, but the unlimited market is generally their higher-population density areas, and the extended market is the less populated areas of Alaska.

Unlimited Market Full-Speed Data is similar to “premium data” from the major wireless networks. When your plan has this data, you will receive the highest possible data speeds from GCI, no matter where you are. 

Extended Market Data is subject to slowdowns if the network is overly stressed at a given time. A plan’s Extended Market data is expended when users are in Extended Market areas, and if you use more than your plan’s data allocation, your speeds when in these areas, are reduced to 128 Kbps. 

There are a few more differences between the plans, like the top two tiers offering free calling and texting to Canada and Mexico as well as Super HD streaming when on a mobile network. All of these plans offer the same excellent coverage, letting you choose based on how you use your phone. If you are always in their Unlimited Market areas, the cheaper plans will serve you well, as even in Juneau, Alaskans do not report many data slow-downs during the year. There are reports of spotty GCI coverage in rural areas where AT&T provides better coverage. 

👍 What We Liked

  • Flexible Plans for Travelers. Starting at $20 a month, GCI’s FastPhone Prepaid Plans are great options for travelers who want to add a second line to their device.  
  • Unlimited High-Speed Data. While all the plans have limited high-speed data in extended markets, they all have unlimited high-speed data in the population centers where GCI has greater network strength.  

👎 What We Didn’t Like

  • Expensive Plans. GCI’s four phone plans are on the expensive side, with the lowest tier starting at $60 a month. These prices are similar to what the other big three networks charge.
  • Spotty Coverage Due to Hills and Valleys. There are a lot more dead spots in Alaska than we expect in the continental USA due to the high volume of hills, valleys, and other signal obstructions in rural areas. 
AT&T Coverage in Alaska || Source

#2 in Alaska: AT&T 

Best Cell Phone Plan Range in Nashville

Even though AT&T’s network only covers 11% of Alaska’s total area, they provide service that rivals what GCI offers. AT&T has put more time and energy in creating a network that Alaskan residents can enjoy. It has a way to go before it gives the best cell phone coverage in Alaska, but AT&T is working to make it happen. 

Price: Varies

Plan: AT&T offers three unlimited plans at various prices. Their price is comparable to the plans at GCI. 

AT&T offers three unlimited plans. 

  • AT&T Unlimited Starter Plan, priced at $65/60/45/35/30
  • AT&T Unlimited Extra Plan, priced at $75/65/50/40/35
  • AT&T Unlimited Premium Plan, priced at $85/75/60/50/45

Like Verizon, AT&T’s unlimited plans start at a high price point and become much more affordable with the addition of new lines. With three cell phone plans, AT&T has a basic plan with new bells and whistles, a medium plan, and a premium plan with many extras. 

  • AT&T’s starter plan has unlimited high-speed data with 3 GBs of high-speed hotspot data.  
  • AT&T’s extra plan comes with 50 GB of premium data and 15 GB of high-speed hotspot data. 
  • AT&T’s premium plan comes with unlimited premium data and 50 GB of high-speed hotspot data.

The network itself proves the most problematic for Alaskan travelers. As per their coverage map, lots of Alaskan areas are completely devoid of the network, and many others lie on the far edge of AT&T’s network. Those edges create a lot of unreliable connections, where lots of AT&T users note dead spots and spotty coverage in rural areas. Living in the continental United States, many are used to strong coverage during their day-to-day. Living in Alaska, AT&T can deliver that…up to a point. 

👍 What We Liked

  • Large Alaskan Network. While not as large as GCI’s network, AT&T provides great coverage and fast speeds over many of Alaska’s population centers. Even though it is a big project, AT&T is constantly working to improve its coverage and the speed of its network in Alaska. 
  • Premium Data. While it is an unlikely occurrence, a surprise slow-down of your mobile service is quite vexing. We like that the second tier of AT&T’s service provides 50 GBs of premium data so you can enjoy the fastest speeds at the busiest times. 

👎 What We Didn’t Like

  • Unreliable Coverage. There are a lot more dead spots in Alaska than we expect in the continental USA due to the high volume of hills, valleys, and other signal obstructions in rural areas. 
  • Price. This is a common qualm with major wireless networks, but AT&T’s prices are steep. Overall, prices at major wireless networks are challenging to pay without multi-line discounts. 
Cricket Wireless Coverage in Alaska || Source

#3 in Alaska: Cricket Wireless

Most Affordable Cell Phone Plans in Alaska

If you are thinking that this coverage map looks familiar — You’re right! Cricket operates through AT&T’s mobile network, so you will receive the same coverage throughout Alaska as you would with the major wireless carrier. 

Price: Varies

Plan: Cricket Wireless has four plans, two of which provide unlimited high-speed data and two that provide limited data. 

Cricket Wireless's four plans, for one line, are as follows:

  • Unlimited data + 15 GB Mobile Hotspot — $60
  • Unlimited data — $55 a month
  • 10 GB data — $40 a month
  • 5 GB data — $30 a month

While the base pricing of Cricket’s plans is rather pricey, the company provides excellent multi-line savings. 

These multi-line savings are what really draws us to their service. Cricket is one of the more expensive MVNOs, but they provide unlimited high-speed data with their two more expensive plans, justifying the cost in our eyes. As they work on AT&T’s network, you can rest assured that Cricket’s service in Alaska is one of the best. 

👍 What We Liked

  • Mutli-Line Savings. While the prices start high, multi-line accounts rack up serious savings. 
  • Reliable Network.  Cricket Wireless works on AT&T’s network, providing some of the best cell phone coverage in Alaska to all its users. 

👎 What We Didn’t Like

  • High Starting Prices. The single-line pricing of Cricket plans is much higher than other MVNOs that provide similar amounts of data. 
  • Strange Pricing. The multi-line pricing on the two limited-data plans means low-data users cannot save as much as those on unlimited plans. 

Get to Know Your Local Carrier Options in Alaska

GCI is the most significant local carrier in Alaska, providing its residents with the best cell phone coverage. With the ubiquitousness of the big three carriers, it is rare for local networks to remain operational. Alaska’s disconnection from the mainland United States (and its size) left it much less developed than the rest of the country. Even Hawaii, separated by an ocean from the States, has near-complete coverage on its islands. While the networks are not as reliable as they are in the states, they will grant fair coverage in this state. 

Their MVNOs are options as well. If you have Verizon, T-Mobile, or an MVNO that operates on one of their networks, you will receive fair coverage in Alaska. GCI or AT&T is your best bet for the best cell phone coverage. 

While the small towns and natural scenery are beautiful, having the best cell phone coverage is important in case you need to call emergency services or fire up your GPS maps. 

FAQ: Your Questions About Cell Phone Coverage in Alaska, Answered

What phone carriers work in Alaska?

Every network has some coverage in Alaska, but GCI is the best network, followed by AT&T and the other two major networks lagging behind. 

Is there AT&T converage in Alaska?

Yes! While AT&T’s Alaskan network only covers a fraction of the state’s total area, they have placed it purposely to serve as many Alaskans and travelers as possible. 

Does my cell phone signal work in Alaska?

Due to the large swathes of nature in Alaska, there are many spots where cell phones do not have a signal. That being said, GCI and AT&T have created robust networks in the populated areas of the state. You can check GCI’s coverage map for more information on the best cell phone coverage in Alaska. 

Is there  Verizon coverage in Alaska?

Yes! While Verizon’s Alaskan network is not as big as GCI’s, they do have a strong presence. If you are in Alaska with a Verizon phone, expect spotty coverage the further you get from the beaten path. 

TLDR; GCI  is your best bet for fast phone coverage in Alaska

Use to compare! 

Alaska is a beautiful place to live and vacation. GCI and AT&T provide the best cell phone coverage, bringing as many Alaskans and travelers under their coverage net as possible. That being said, there are huge swaths of the wilderness where no signal is available. Undergo serious preparations before venturing into any area without cell service. If you want more info about plans available in Alaska, you can compare carriers at to decide which phone carrier is best for you.

Kyle Reyes
Kyles Reyes is a journalist from Pittsburgh, PA that specializes in the wireless industry, phone plan comparisons & advice.
Select your area of interest

your questions,

Does this phone service work everywhere?

Yep, we offer premium wireless service on the T-Mobile® 5G Network, the nation’s largest and fastest 5G network. If you are in our dewi coverage areas, you’ll also get access to our decentralized phone network powered by the people which will give you even faster speeds and better coverage.

Is there a contract?

Nope, it’s pay as you go.

Is this prepaid?

Yeah! You put your card on file and prepay each month so that you never experience any disruption.

Does my phone need to be unlocked?

Yep, but it’s super easy to unlock your device as long as it’s paid off. Chat with us and a real human can help you here.

What if I want a new phone?

We have some recommendations on what we think you should get, from iPhones to Droids. Check out our list here which includes affordable places online to get a good deal.

What does decentralized wireless (DeWi) mean?

It means we are building a phone network that is powered by the people. Your neighbors put small radios on their roof and help extend the phone network to cover deadzones™ and get even faster speeds. Right now our DeWi network is available in Austin, but we’ll be expanding to other cities REALLY soon. Learn more about DeWi here.

How many SIMs will I be installing?

Great question. If you’re in Austin, TX, you’ll install 2 new SIMs. The REALLY nationwide SIM as your first SIM, which will give you voice / text & data on the nation’s largest and fastest 5G network powered by T-Mobile®. Your 2nd SIM will give you access to the REALLY DeWi network in Austin, TX, which you’ll prioritize when available so that you get even faster speeds and better coverage. Depending on your device, you may be able to install eSIMs via a QR code.

Can I keep my phone number?

Yep, we are powered by T-Mobile®, the nation’s largest and fastest 5G network. If you are in Austin, TX you’ll also get access to our decentralized phone network powered by the people which will give you even faster speeds and better coverage.

How much data do you get on the unlimited plan?

The plan is unlimited, but once you reach 20GB you may experience slower speeds depending on network usage.

How much hotspot data do you get on the unlimited plan?

You get 10GB of hotspot data per month, but can add more if you need to.

How do I add more data to my plan?

You can chat with us, text us, or login to your account to top off. It only takes a few seconds.

start building a new era of connectivity

join REALLY DeWi