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Best Phone Coverage in Portland, OR: Cell Service in the City of Roses

By
Kyle Reyes
October 1, 2023

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Portland is the capital of Oregon and home to around two million residents in its metropolitan area. The cellular networks in the city are busy. This business is constantly stressing the robust networks of the big three in and around the city. This article will discuss the best cell phone coverage in Portland, OR, and break down the top three carriers in the area. 

Whether you are moving down there or are simply dissatisfied with your current carrier, this article is here to answer all your questions. With our help, you can decide which new carrier is right for you. 

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

  • Map of the fastest cell phone coverage in Portland, OR
  • Local and national carriers that cover Portland, OR
  • Frequently asked questions about phone coverage in Portland, OR
Best Cell Phone Coverage in Portland, OR || Source

Phone Coverage in Portland, OR, at a Glance

Lightning-Fast Data Speeds on Major Networks

Portland, OR, is a huge metropolitan area. Loads of people travel into the city for work every day. It sees many tourists and is a hub for a vibrant culture of all shapes and sizes. Portland is well known for its amazing connection to nature. With the Pacific Ocean lapping at its western docks and natural vistas dotting the landscape all around, Portland is a fantastic place to be. 

Let’s break down what the top three carriers in Portland, OR, bring to the table. 

Local and National Cell Phone Carriers in Portland, OR

The top three carriers in Portland, OR, are Verizon Wireless, AT&T, and Visible Wireless. 

Verizon Wireless and AT&T have bested T-Mobile as providers of the best cell phone coverage in Portland, OR. Verizon Wireless has the best speeds within the city, and AT&T has the best speeds in the area surrounding Portland. Both networks evade congestion in the city most of the time, opening up opportunities for MVNOs to provide the same high-speed coverage that users see on major wireless networks. 

Major wireless carriers are companies that own and operate their networks. Verizon Wireless and AT&T are two such networks. Major Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) rent bandwidth from major networks. Visible Wireless is an MVNO. MVNOs offer less expensive cell phone plans that receive more data slowdowns and often offer less high-speed data. Visible is an exception to that, as they only offer unlimited high-speed data plans. Other MVNOs offer excellent limited-data plans that save low-data users money on their cell phone bills. 

Data priority is loosely defined as three tiers. There is priority data, basic data, and MVNO data. 

  1. Priority data users are major wireless customers who get the fastest data possible and pay the most for their service. 
  2. Basic data users are major wireless customers who use the network's basic data. They experience data slowdowns if the network is congested and tier-three users are already slowed down. 
  3. All MVNO users are tier-three users and receive slowed-down data if the network shows signs of congestion. 
Verizon Wireless 5G Coverage Map Portland, OR || Source

#1 in Portland, OR: Verizon Wireless

Fastest 5G and 4G LTE in Portland, OR

Verizon Wireless provides the best cell phone coverage in Portland, OR. Verizon’s Ultra Wideband 5G network covers the city, supplying immense bandwidth and high data speeds to all Portland residents. Verizon Wireless is the best cell phone provider for people who stay in the major metropolitan area in and around the city. Verizon has not deployed its ultra-fast 5G network throughout the entire state, so users will notice data speed drop offs as they venture into the beautiful nature of the state. 

Price: Varies

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. 

  • Welcome Unlimited, priced at $65/55/40/30 a month per line
  • Unlimited Plus, priced at $80/70/55/45 a month per line

Verizon has a pair of excellent cell phone plans for Portland residents. The premium plan is an extra $15, and it gives the following perks: 

  • 30 GB mobile hotspot
  • Device savings
  • Price Guarantee
  • Premium data

The premium data alone may be enough to warrant the extra monthly cost, but the hotspot data is another nice addition. We recommend starting on the basic plan and seeing how much congestion affects you in your daily routine. Congestion within cities is difficult to quantify. In big cities like Portland, it is possible that sections of the city receive moderate congestion throughout the day, but your particular routine does not bring you near those areas. During the night, the bars and clubs on the banks of the Willamette River draw enough traffic to slow down the network, but you can still order an Uber with slowed-down data. 

Premium data is best for people who want the highest speeds at all times. Utilizing premium data is best for users who like to stream videos and scroll social media on mobile data. 

Alongside the base price of the plans, Verizon offers a wide variety of add-ons, which are nice bonuses to their service. The best part — they are optional. Each add-on is $10 a month and saves you some money on the service, but if none of them seem like things you need, then you can skip it entirely and stick with the base plan. 

👍 What We Liked

  • Flexible Add-Ons. Verizon has a great suite of add-ons, including streaming services like Netflix and Disney+. This is a great way to save a little on streaming services each month. 
  • Family Plan Savings. Any additional lines you can add to your account will save you and your account mates big on your cell phone bill. 

👎 What We Didn’t Like

  • Price. Verizon is expensive. Their plans provide great service, lightning-fast speeds, and lots of add-ons, but they come at a high price. 
  • Customer Service. This is certainly not unique to Verizon, but their customer service only sometimes solves the problems ailing their customers. 
AT&T 5G Coverage Map Portland, OR || Source

#2 in Portland, OR: AT&T

Best Cell Phone Plan Range in Portland, OR

AT&T is another excellent choice for residents of Portland. This service is best for people who live in and around the city and travel to the more rural parts of the state, as AT&T provides the best cell phone coverage throughout the less traveled parts of Oregon. Their 5G network is not as fast as Verizon’s, but they have great coverage in the city, letting many users receive high-speed data before the bandwidth is squeezed and congestion creeps in. As an AT&T customer, you are on tier one or two of data priority, meaning even basic plan users only have data slowdowns during serious congestion. 

Price: Varies

Plan: AT&T offers three unlimited plans at various price points. 

AT&T offers three unlimited plans. 

  • AT&T Unlimited Starter Plan
  • AT&T Unlimited Extra Plan
  • AT&T Unlimited Premium Plan

AT&T’s unlimited plans start at a high price point and become much more affordable with the addition of new lines. Multi-line savings are similar among the three major providers and are essential to avoid paying huge cell phone bills each month. These are the basic details of AT&T’s three cell phone plans: 

  • 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.

This is a great trio of plans, with the hotspot data an excellent addition for those who can use it. While the unlimited premium data is great, the added cost of the 50 GB hotspot data will weigh on your cell phone bills unless you use most of it each month. We like to highlight the premium data as one of the biggest benefits of high-tier plans, but as you shop around for the best cell phone coverage in Portland, OR, make sure to see what the plans have to offer and decide which one is the best for you!

Unfortunately, AT&T only allows SD streaming on the Unlimited Starter and Extra plans. If you are someone who loves to stream video on the go, the hard cutoff on standard definition is an unfortunate clause of AT&T’s cell phone plans. AT&T’s Unlimited Premium plan is the only one to offer HD streaming. 

👍 What We Liked

  • Rural Network. Many customers report excellent high-speed data in the city and around the state. 
  • Hotspot Data. High-speed hotspot data can be useful if you often find yourself out and about and need to access the web on a laptop or tablet. 

👎 What We Didn’t Like

  • SD Streaming. Cutting video streaming off at standard definition for the starter and the mid-tier plan is a tough sell for anyone who likes to stream video when on the move. 
  • Multi-Line Savings. The multi-line savings through AT&T are amazing, but they don’t have any good single-line offers, unlike Visible Wireless. 
Visible Wireless 5G Coverage Map Portland, OR || Source

#3 in Portland, OR: Visible Wireless

Most Affordable Cell Phone Plans in Portland, OR

Visible Wireless is an MVNO on Verizon’s network. Visible and other MVNOs are great ways for customers to receive nationwide networks from major providers without the steep prices that entails. What elevates Visible to our favorite MVNO for the best phone coverage in Mountain View is their truly unlimited plans. Many MVNOs offer plans with “unlimited data,” which means a limited amount of high-speed data and unlimited low-speed data at 2G or 3G speeds. For many high-data users, the 30 or so GBs of high-speed data is insufficient for a month.

Visible’s unlimited high-speed data plans are a spectacular way for single-line high-data users to make the most of an MVNO. Let’s look at what Visible Wireless has to offer. 

Price: From just $30/month

Plan: Visible Wireless has two wireless plans. Each of them has unlimited high-speed data, an amazing feature of this MVNO. The two Visible Wireless phone plans are as follows:

  • $30 per month for Unlimited
  • $45 per month for Unlimited plus

Visible Wireless offers two cell phone plans, each with unlimited high-speed data. Visible’s basic unlimited plan has high-speed data on Verizon’s 5G and 4G LTE networks but does not allow users on Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network. The regular MVNO rules apply with Visible’s unlimited plan, where your data will be slowed in times of high traffic in your area. 

Portland sees a fair amount of congestion, making Visible a good choice for users who are okay with slow data on occasion. There are numerous complaints about Visible’s customer service and overall difficulties with the transfer process for new customers, but if you make it past any issues with the sign-up process, you will receive unlimited high-speed data on Verizon’s nationwide network for just $30 a month. That’s a pretty sweet deal. 

👍 What We Liked

  • Affordable Plans. The low price point of Visible’s unlimited plans is a huge draw for single-line users. 
  • Verizon’s Coverage. Verizon Wireless has great coverage in Portland, OR.

👎 What We Didn’t Like

  • No family plans. There are no multi-line savings from Visible. Their plan is great on its own, but it starts to fall off the top tier if you compare it to the multi-line plans from some other MVNOs. 
  • Data deprioritization. While this is true of all MVNOs, it is unfortunate that your data will slow whenever there is a high strain on the bandwidth in your area. 
T-Mobile 5G Coverage in Portland, OR || Source

Get to Know Your Local Carrier Options in Portland, OR

This article highlighted two of the three major wireless carriers, but rest assured that T-Mobile is another fantastic option for the best cell phone coverage in Portland, OR. Their 5G network, while not as fast as Verizon’s, covers the majority of the city and outputs excellent connections. This article only delivered three cell providers, but many more are available if none of these seems like the right choice for you and your fellow account members. 

One of the biggest factors in choosing a carrier is whether you are a single-line account or a multi-line account. Cricket Wireless is an AT&T MVNO that has amazing multi-line savings and a cell phone plan with unlimited high-speed data. This makes Cricket Wireless a great choice for users who want an MVNO that’s very similar to a major wireless carrier.

Portland, OR, is a great place to live and a fantastic place to visit. Regardless of the duration of your stay, make sure you have the best cell phone coverage so you are connected wherever you go! 

FAQ: Your Questions About Cell Phone Coverage in Portland, OR, Answered

Which carrier has the best coverage in Portland, OR?

Verizon has the best cell phone coverage in Portland, OR, with its high-speed and very reliable network in the city. All three major networks are racing to keep up with cell phone usage, as each phone uses more and more bandwidth to stream. 

What carrier has the best coverage in Oregon?

AT&T has the best cell phone coverage in Oregon. Their network is the most reliable as you venture through the state, especially in its rural areas.  

How to determine which cell carrier has the best coverage in my area?

While Verizon Wireless is the best overall, AT&T does exceptionally well in the state of Oregon. They are almost as fast and reliable as Verizon, making AT&T a great choice for cell coverage in Portland, OR. If you want more specific data, we recommend checking out local coverage maps of the area and asking friends and family nearby about their cell phone coverage. 

Is Verizon or AT&T better in Oregon?

Verizon and AT&T AT&T are both excellent in terms of speed and coverage in Oregon. That being said, there are plenty of areas where Verizon is best and others where AT&T is significantly better. 

TLDR; Verizon Wireless is your best bet for fast phone coverage in Portland, OR

Use really.com to compare! 

Portland, OR, offers many excellent options for solid cell phone coverage. With many tourists visiting Portland to enjoy nature and experience the city, all three major wireless networks have upgraded their cell coverage. This article focused on Portland, but if you make any routine trips around the state or the nation, we recommend looking at local coverage maps in those areas as well. If you want more info about plans available in Portland, OR, you can compare carriers at Really.com to decide which phone carrier is best for you. 

compare phone plans and save up to 80%

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your questions,
answered

does this phone service work everywhere?

Yep, we offer premium wireless service on 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.

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Nope, it’s pay as you go.

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yep! 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.

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