mobile carrier comparison

Best Mobile Phone Carriers for Uber & Lyft Drivers

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Whether you’re self-employed or work for a business, you’re only as good as the tools in your toolbox. Just like a carpenter needs a good hammer, a rideshare driver needs a good wireless network. You can buy the best phone on the market, but it will only be as good as its network. So how do you choose when there are so many options? You’ll want to narrow down the field by prioritizing one or more of the following:

  • Speed
  • Reliability
  • Coverage
  • Price
  • Customer Satisfaction

How Do I Choose the Fastest and Most Reliable Carrier?​

You’re stuck at the airport and your phone won’t connect to Uber or Lyft servers. You know you’re missing out on business. Maybe it’s time to look for a new wireless network.

When you’re driving for Uber or Lyft, you want two things out of your wireless network: reliability and speed. We took a look at the metrics for 2019 and 2020. Verizon ranked first in network performance in JD Power’s 2019 Wireless Network Performance study. Verizon also stole the number one spot when Rootmetrics tested reliability and speed in 2019 for nationwide carriers.

Tom’s Guide conducted a series of LTE tests in eight cities across the U.S. to determine which carrier had the highest upload and download speeds. Verizon came out on top again.

How did the other three major carriers stack up throughout these tests? They’re all pretty close. While Verizon pulls ahead in most network performance categories according to these studies, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint aren’t too far behind.

Which Mobile Carrier Has the Best Coverage?

WhistleOut broke down coverage scores between the four major carriers. Verizon pulled ahead in 4G coverage, with AT&T and T-Mobile battling it out for second.

The big four wireless companies – AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile – all have decent coverage nationwide. However, it’s important to remember that the quality of a network will vary dramatically based on where you live and drive. Verizon might offer the most comprehensive national coverage, but that doesn’t mean your specific town will be covered. In order to make sure you’ll never run into a dead zone while driving, check their coverage maps for your specific state. Or, go to Rootmetrics for an independent take on network coverage.

Nationwide Total Coverage (all speeds - 2G, 3G, 4G, LTE)
AT&T
AT&T Coverage Map
Sprint
Sprint Coverage Map
T-Mobile
T-Mobile Coverage Map
Verizon
Verizon Coverage Map

Unlimited Plan Comparison

How much data does the Uber app use? Uber suggests that most drivers don’t go over 3GB per month, but recommends that drivers opt for unlimited plans in case they do exceed this number.

All of the top carriers offer unlimited plans with a variety of options. There are a few things you’ll want to consider when choosing between these plans: throttling, streaming quality, and roaming. Each plan offers unlimited talk, text, and data. The more expensive the plan… the more features you’ll get. Sprint offers the cheapest unlimited plan while Verizon’s plans are the most expensive, though they also offer the most data.

$65/month* for unlimited talk, text, and data

Standard definition streaming

Data speeds may be slowed at any time if the network is busy.

$75/month* for unlimited talk, text, and data

Standard definition streaming

Data speeds will only slow after 50GB

5G access

$80/month for unlimited talk, text, and data

HD streaming

Data speeds will only slow after 100GB

5G access

*Price with autopay and paperless billing. All unlimited plans offer unlimited talk, text and data when roaming in Mexico and the U.S.

$60/month** for unlimited talk, text, and data

480p video quality

5GB of 4G LTE while roaming in Canada and Mexico.

$70/month** for unlimited talk, text, and data

1080p video quality

5GB of 4G LTE while roaming in Canada and Mexico

$80/month** for unlimited talk, text, and data

Full HD streaming

Unlimited 4G LTE while roaming in Canada and Mexico

**Price with autopay

Consumers that use more than 50GB in a month may experience slower speeds.

$60/month** for unlimited talk, text, and data

480p streaming quality

2G data when roaming in Canada and Mexico

$70/month** for unlimited talk, text, and data

5GB of high speed data when roaming in Mexico and Canada

480p streaming quality

Fees and taxes included in price

$85/month** for unlimited talk, text, and data

5GB of 4G data when roaming in Mexico and Canada

1080p streaming quality

Fees and taxes included in price

**Price with autopay

Consumers that use more than 50GB in a month may experience slower speeds.

$70/month (plus taxes and fees) for unlimited talk, text, and data

480p streaming quality

Data speeds may slow during periods of network congestion

$80/month (plus taxes and fees) for unlimited talk, text, and data

Up to 25GB of premium data

720p streaming quality

$80/month (plus taxes and fees) for unlimited talk, text, and data

Up to 50GB of premium data

480p streaming quality

$90/month (plus taxes and fees) for unlimited talk, text, and data

Up to 75GB of premium data

720p streaming quality

When using premium data, you won’t be subject to the same types of slowdowns that non-premium data users experience. You can pay $10/month with any unlimited plan for 5G access.

Who Has the Highest Customer Satisfaction Rating?

A good wireless plan offers more than just peak performance. It’s important to know that when you have an issue, you can solve it quickly and get back on the road.

In 2019, Consumer Reports noted that bigger isn’t necessarily better when it comes to customer service. Ting, a “discount carrier” received the highest rating in consumer satisfaction on Consumer Report’s wireless service survey. Part of the reason so many people are happy with Ting might be because the carrier doesn’t lock the consumer into a monthly contract. Instead, Ting allows the consumer to fully customize how many talk minutes, texts, and how much data they want monthly.

The 2018-2019 American Consumer Satisfaction Index ranked Cricket Wireless first among discount carriers in customer satisfaction. Cricket Wireless runs on AT&T’s network. If you’re looking to leave AT&T but want to hang onto your device, Cricket Wireless makes it easy. They offer unlimited plans that are cheaper than the “big four” plans per line. Despite running on AT&T’s network, Cricket offers less coverage in rural areas so it’ll be important to consult a coverage map before switching.

How to save by bundling services

Bundling is the latest development in the world of cellphone plans. If you already have Xfinity home internet, you might consider switching to XFinity Mobile or Verizon Wireless + Fios.  That way, your home internet and cellphone plans will be linked and you’ll save $20/month by bundling. XFinity Mobile’s main drawback is that they significantly cut speeds once you exceed their soft data cap.

Wrapping it Up

All in all, finding the best wireless plan is essential if you want your rideshare business to run smoothly. You can’t go wrong with a major carrier like AT&T or Verizon, but you might want to check out some of the discount carriers like Cricket Wireless, Ting, or XFinity Mobile if you’re looking for a deal.

You need the right tools for the job and if the difference is $10-$20 per month, you will probably be better going with the best service rather than a discount service that will interfere with your ability to earn money.

Lots of Data
4/5
  • Elite plan haws largest high speed data allowance
  • Poor 4G coverage
  • Unimpressive network performance
Good For Travelers
3/5
  • Only plan w/ roaming in Mexico or Canada
  • Low customer satisfaction
  • Worst network performance
  • Worst 4G coverage
Budget Winner
3.5/5
  • Best customer satisfaction
  • Average 4G coverage
  • 50GB Premium Data Cap
Best Overall
5/5
  • Best 4G coverage
  • Best network performance
  • Generous data allowance
  • Highest monthly cost

We may receive a referral fee for recommending some of the products, apps or services listed on this website.  This article is for informational purposes only. The pricing listed on this page was accurate as of Jan. 18, 2020.

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