Cheat sheet: which 4G LTE bands do AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint use in the USA?


Note: This article is being continuously updated.

What are the 4G LTE bands supported by AT&T? Do they differ from the 4G LTE bands that T-Mobile uses? And what about Verizon Wireless massive 4G LTE network and its supported frequencies? And where is Sprint left in the 4G LTE picture?

If you have ever tried to understand what's the deal with 4G LTE band support, you would have inevitably stumbled upon a reality of limitations and restrictions. Many phones, for example, only support bands for a particular carrier and not for others.

We are breaking down the 4G LTE carrier bands for each of the major U.S. carrier (take a look at the table at the bottom of this article), but first, let's say a few words about the state of 4G LTE on all of them.

Carrier4G LTE BandsMain Frequencies
AT&T2, 4, 5, 12, 14, 17, 29, 30, 661900, 1700 abcde, 700 bc
Verizon Wireless2, 4, 5, 13, 661900, 1700 f, 700 c
T-Mobile2, 4, 5, 12, 66, 711900, 1700 def, 700 a, 600
Sprint25, 26, 411900 g, 850, 2500
Europe3, 7, 201800, 2600, 800
China, India40, 412300, 2500
*Main band for each carrier is marked in bold.

AT&T

What LTE Bands does AT&T use?

First, AT&T. The company has rolled out a massive 4G LTE network in the United States with support for bands 2, 4, 5 and 17, but the backbone of it remains band 17 in the 700MHz range, the company's primary band. From 2017, AT&T towers also support band 12 as per FCC requirements. Since band 12 is a superset of band 17, these are now commonly referred to as one entity (band 12), and again, are the backbone of the LTE network.

The remaining bands 2, 4 and 5 are mostly used in areas where AT&T does not have band 12/17, while in the densely populated metros, AT&T combines spectrum from multiple bands for better coverage. This is the reason why it is important that your phone supports all and not just one of these bands, in order for you to make maximum use of 4G LTE speeds.

Here is a breakdown of all the individual bands at AT&T and what's their role:

  • Band 2 (1900MHz frequency range): it is one of the core bands for AT&T LTE as the carrier has large, 20x20MHz blocks in most markets.
  • Band 4 (AWS-1700/2100MHz): this band is used as a supplement for improved capacity and is usually deployed in small, 5x5MHz blocks.
  • Band 5 (850MHz): this band is used most commonly 3G (HSPA+ ) connectivity, but some of it also goes toward LTE. AT&T owns a lot in this frequency range throughout the nation, and band 5 is sometimes used in areas where there is no band 12/17 coverage.
  • Band 12/17 (700MHz): the backbone of AT&T's LTE network and it provides practically a nation-wide coverage.
  • Band 14 (700MHz): AT&T has a nationwide license for band 14. The carrier acquired these bands from FirstNet and they will be used for a federally-funded public safety channel. These will only be deployed in states that opt in the FirstNet service.
  • Band 29 (700MHz): this is a supplementary channel. AT&T purchased this from Qualcomm and it is mostly deployed in a 5x0 configuration, meaning that you get one small 5MHz block for download (in some limited places like the California coast and northeast you have 10x0 blocks). This band cannot be used for upload.
  • Band 30 (WCS 2300MHz): another supplementary band for 4G LTE. AT&T has deployed chunks of 10x10 across the nation.
  • Band 66 (AWS-3-1700/2100MHz): band 66 is a superset of band 4, meaning that it includes all of the band 4 blocks plus adds a few more. AT&T usually deploys this in 10x10 chunks, and you could commonly see it in the New York and New Jersey areas. It is actively being deployed.

Verizon Wireless

What LTE bands does Verizon use?

Verizon Wireless was the first to arrive to the 4G LTE race and it has also built its nationwide network based on 700 MHz spectrum, but the primary band for Verizon is band 13. Bands 2 and 4 are used to strengthen the signal in the densely populated urban areas. One important thing to note about Verizon Wireless is that many phones are built specifically for the carrier, including its 4G LTE bands. In other words, the common case is that you will not be able to use an AT&T device on Verizon's 4G LTE network.

Here is a detailed breakdown of the 4G LTE bands that Verizon uses:

  • Band 2 (1900MHz): this is a band that Verizon is actively transitioning from 2G/3G for use for LTE. It is currently a supplementary carrier that brings more capacity to the network and is commonly deployed in 10x10 chunks.
  • Band 4 (1700/2100MHz): Verizon has solid amounts of these bands that it deploys in larger, 20x20MHz blocks in many markets.
  • Band 5 (850MHz): it is a band that Verizon is still using for 2G/3G services in some markets, while for others, it is using this band for LTE. Verizon holds a lot of this spectrum nationwide and usually deploys it in 10x10 blocks.
  • Band 13 (700MHz): this is the backbone of the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network. Verizon has this rolled out to most markets across the nation, but since it is usually deployed in rather small 10x10 chunks, it could become congested fairly easily.
  • Band 66 (1700/2100MHz): this is a superset of band 4 (meaning that it has all the frequencies of band 4, plus a few additional blocks). It is usually deployed in small chunks and it not available everywhere.

Sprint

What LTE bands does Sprint use?

Sprint first lit up a WiMax network in the early days of 4G, but has since then made the strategic choice to go with 4G LTE technology and has flipped the switch on the WiMax network in early 2016.

Sprint's current 4G LTE network runs on bands 25, 26 and 41 with band 25 in the 1900 MHz range being the carrier's primary frequency. Band 41 is used to boost the capacity of the network and its speed, while the low-frequency band 26 is used to boost coverage.

Interestingly, Sprint does carrier aggregation a bit differently than the rest of the carriers. Sprint uses "intraband" carrier aggregation (CA), meaning that it is aggregating the same LTE band (band 41 + band 41, for instance). In contrast, other carriers use "interband" CA, meaning that aggregation happens between two different frequencies (band 12 + band 4, for instance). One interesting consequences of this technology is that you usually end up connected to two channels on the same cell site, unlike with other carriers. Sprint used to call carrier aggregation Sprint Spark, but since the term was a bit confusing, they are now simply referring to areas with CA as LTE+.

Here is a breakdown of the 4G LTE bands that Sprint uses and their importance:

  • Band 25 (1900MHz): this is a superset of band 2 (meaning that it includes band 2 frequencies plus the additional G block) that we are commonly seeing on other carriers as well. It is deployed in different chunks in different regions, from 5x5 blocks to 15x15 blocks.
  • Band 26 (800MHz): Sprint's low-frequency band is used for extra coverage in some rural areas and coverage within buildings. It is available in small 5x5 chunks.
  • Band 41 (2500MHz): this one is different than the rest since it uses the TDD LTE technology rather than FDD LTE like everyone else in the US. What this means is that in this band you get higher allocation for the downlink stream than the uplink.

T-Mobile

What LTE bands does T-Mobile use?

Finally, T-Mobile has been the loudest and arguably the fastest growing 4G LTE network, especially in the big cities.

Currently, T-Mobile's main band is still band 4 (AWS) in the 1700 MHz range. It is the band T-Mobile uses in densely populated areas and while it may not quite have the penetration capabilities that come with B2, it is considered more stable. Historically, T-Mobile used band 4 back in the times of HSPA+ networks and has later on repurposed the frequency for 4G LTE, plus it has added additional coverage to the band via the MetroPCS acquisition. Band 2, on the other hand, is used in markets where band 4 is not available, but the two are also aggregated for better coverage in markets, where both are available. You can typically see band 2 used in rural/suburban areas.

T-Mobile has also won a big, 30MHz chunk of spectrum in an auction held in summer of 2017. The frequencies that it is now allowed to operate are in the low-band, 600MHz band, and are referred to as 4G LTE band 71. Interestingly, band 71 uses old UHF TV frequencies, and it will be relying more on them in the future as TV stations clear them. At the end of 2018, there were over 800 cities and towns that support the new longer range band 71. These frequencies are also expected to become the base for T-Mobile's upcoming 5G network, while at the current time, they contribute the most to the company's small city and rural coverage. The full deployment of band 71 is expected to boost T-Mobile coverage by 6 million additional people.

Band 12 is similar to the newer band 71 in that T-Mobile describes both as "extended range LTE". The one key advantage of band 12 over band 71 is that it is available on many more phones. Band 71 is currently available on later models like the 2018 family of iPhones and it is the band that T-Mobile will be using to expand the network in the future.

And here is an overview of all the bands:

  • Band 2 (1900MHz frequency range): this is a band mostly used in rural areas, or where band 4 is not available. It has higher reach, and it is widely used in the Northeast to provide 4G coverage to distant places. T-Mobile has deployed various chunks of spectrum, from smaller 5x5 blocks to larger and speedier 20x20 blocks. This band is also used for 2G and 3G.
  • Band 4 (1700MHz/2100MHz): the backbone of T-Mobile's LTE network. It is usually deployed in large 20x20MHz chunks in most markets, providing fast speed and a stable connection. Used for more densely populated areas.
  • Band 5 (850MHz): Extremely limited use. Most band 5 coverage is offered by Verizon and AT&T. T-Mobile only operates LTE on this band around the Myrtle Beach, South Carolina area.
  • Band 12 (700MHz): an "extended range LTE" band, used mostly as a complimentary band for coverage in rural and suburban areas, and it is similar to band 71 in function. It is supported on most phones.
  • Band 66 (1700/2100MHz): an extension (superset) of band 4, this band is supported on devices since late 2016. Available in small 5x5MHz chunks and is not yet widely deployed because Federal Agencies need to clear the bands first.
  • Band 71 (600MHz): the big win of the FCC auction for T-Mobile, this band was previously used by UHF TV stations. T-Mobile owns band 71 all across the nation in big chunks, and will be deploying it in the near future. Since this is a 600MHz range band, it will have wider coverage and will improve coverage inside buildings. It is supported only by newer phones like the 2018 series of iPhones.

Europe and China 4G LTE bands, 4G LTE support in phones


While the 700 MHz range in various bands has been the backbone of the U.S. 4G LTE coverage, in Europe and China carriers use different spectrum and bands, so phones from the United States may not work there. In Europe, most carriers base their networks on bands 3 (1800 MHz), 7 (2600 MHz) and 20 (800 MHz).

China, on the other hand, uses a whole different 4G LTE standard - while the Western world has rolled out FDD-LTE networks, China and large parts of Asia use TDD-LTE. The differences between FDD and TDD are purely technical and the main one boils down to the fact that FDD is symmetrical (1:1 upload vs download), while TDD allows variable up / down ratio. The main bands for China are TD bands 40 and 41.

Finally, it's worth noting that these days still only a few phones can truly be considered global: the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus support practically all Western bands in one phone (the full list of supported bands include 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30), the Nexus 5X and 6P are two other phones that support a fairly comprehensive list of bands.

Do not forget that you can always check the supported bands for each phone by simply looking up the specs at PhoneArena.com!

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33 Comments

1. bambamboogy02

Posts: 838; Member since: Jun 23, 2012

But you can use alot of VZW Phones on ATT and TMobile. All of thier 4G LTE Devices are GLobally unlocked already, and most new ones carry global bands even supporting UMTS.

2. joeytaylor

Posts: 957; Member since: Feb 28, 2015

Is that with just newer phones....i was under the impression that my Verizon S5 will not work with AT&T's 4g networks

11. bigdawg23

Posts: 467; Member since: May 25, 2011

As an example, I have two Verizon Iphone 6 Plus's. One is on VZW(Work Phone) and AT&T(Personal). My AT&T line works flawless, because of Apples Bands for all LTE Networks, being on most phones. I also have a Note 4 on VZW. When I insert my AT&T sim card it will not work and lets me know I have another Network SIM. Now, there is a chance new phones like S6 and Note 5 may be different.

12. Planterz

Posts: 2120; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

It depends on the phone. Some, like the Droid Turbo, were ordered by Verizon for Verizon, and thus won't have some other bands like AT&T's band 17 or T-Mobile's band 12. Others, like Moto X's, Nexus 6, and iPhones will work on any network. Verizon's big enough that they can force proprietary requirements/restrictions on devices they order from the OEMs. Contrast this to T-Mobile/AT&T, where many popular high-end devices are physically identical and share proprietary bands because it's cheaper to produce 2 identical models than separate specific ones. Again, it depends on the individual device.

15. tacarat

Posts: 854; Member since: Apr 22, 2013

I think some take a bit more tinkering than others. I couldn't help one guy with a HTC One Max. Most of the time updating the APNs are all that's needed. A quick google search should turn up what you need. You might only get EDGE speeds, though. If all else fails, go for the more basic WAP settings. YMMV.

16. bambamboogy02

Posts: 838; Member since: Jun 23, 2012

Have you changed the radio settings? AKA Network Mode? Change it from LTE/CDMA to Global, or change it to LTE/GSM/UMTS

19. JunitoNH

Posts: 1946; Member since: Feb 15, 2012

I can tell you this. I have the original Moto X, which I have used with AT&T and now with Cricket. The only caveat with Verizon phones, as you would expect, there's no LTE support. However, Hspa is supported, and I'm getting speeds of 5M down and 3 up. What I'm saying, they make great backup, or let me save some money, and buy what I want devices. On another note I noticed 1+1=X :) has the "17" band missing why not buying.

29. strategic_developer

Posts: 1627; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

The S5 from VZW will work on ATT if unlocked. You can then just use ODIN to flash the band frequencies fo the operating system so it knows how to tell the modem from bands to use. Those flash files are usually available on XDA.

5. abeauchamp

Posts: 28; Member since: Feb 27, 2012

Yes, I agree with you. I have multiple Verizon Phone and when I go out of the country just change sim card and my phone work in the country fine without any problem.

3. jellmoo

Posts: 2594; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

Canada is almost all band 4 (this is the coast to coast band) with two of our big three providers (Rogers and Bell) providing LTE-A on band 7 in a small amount of places (basically just Toronto and Vancouver).

9. Moose

Posts: 418; Member since: Jan 05, 2015

I have band 7 on Fido in London, Ontario - great for trying out Chinese phones because most of them have band 7 for LTE.

21. niteiknight

Posts: 77; Member since: Aug 02, 2012

The big three are just now starting to deploy the 700MHz spectrum they have, which should help greatly with their coverage. They're even using the same band numbers that we do in the States. Rogers is using bands 12 & 17, while Bell and Telus (with their shared network) seem to use either 12, 13, or 17 depending on the area. Of course it doesn't help that this information isn't easy to find. Wikipedia's sources are conflicting, and the carriers themselves aren't very helpful either.

4. newuser1

Posts: 276; Member since: Dec 10, 2010

correction: china Unicom, china telecom, use FDD, china mobile mainly use TDD. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_LTE_networks#Asia

6. twalsh3

Posts: 6; Member since: Mar 15, 2010

willmyphonework website has been a pretty helpful website to show which phones will work on what networks and what bands and sped they will support, ie: 2g, 3g, 4g.

7. kg4icg

Posts: 83; Member since: May 18, 2008

Someone on PhoneArena failed to look at Sprints band 41 LTE which is LTE-TDD or should I say LTE-Advanced and that Spring's band 41 covers over 120mhz of spectrum, and that Sprint has roaming agreement in China on band 41. Some people actually need to do some research.

8. sebstin

Posts: 189; Member since: Dec 03, 2015

Why so much confusion on these phones and frequencies?.. Why cant all frequeny bands included in all phones so that globally it can be used?..

10. joeytaylor

Posts: 957; Member since: Feb 28, 2015

I think the carriers what you to buy their phones....or ateast some do

13. bigdawg23

Posts: 467; Member since: May 25, 2011

While everyone hates Apple, phones beginning with iPhone 6/6Plus have almost all bands.

14. Planterz

Posts: 2120; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

Some phones do. Moto X's, Nexuses, iPhones. Verizon's (postpaid) phones are unlocked, but they often don't have other bands, and unlocked phones apart from the above mentioned won't work on their network. Same goes for Sprint, except that it's extremely unlikely you'll be able to use a Sprint phone on another network (except, again, for those certain ones). It's all about control.

17. My1cent

Posts: 370; Member since: Jan 30, 2014

You can't just put anything into any chip or parts anymore. There're fees for everything, hence cheaper for lesser!

18. tokuzumi

Posts: 1907; Member since: Aug 27, 2009

I like how Sprint makes it hard on everyone, and has unique LTE bands from the other carriers. All other US carriers have band 2 and 4 in common. Notice Europe and China pretty much settled on a standard, whereas the US is all over the place.

20. niteiknight

Posts: 77; Member since: Aug 02, 2012

This article has a bunch of errors. Do people even proofread anymore? AT&T: The author neglected to mention what band number AT&T's 2.3GHz WCS spectrum is (it's band 30, by the way). He says that bands 2, 4, and 5 are mostly used in areas where they don't have band 17, which is completely untrue. Only band 5 is used in areas without band 17, while 2 and 4 are for capacity + carrier aggregation. Sprint: This one's the worst offender. Band 24? Seriously? The author lists it correctly in the table while goofing it up TWICE in the describing paragraph. Also, band 26 isn't to boost speed and capacity, it's to boost coverage. (band 24 is 1600MHz L-band spectrum that LightSquared currently holds)

22. Massipt

Posts: 1; Member since: Apr 25, 2016

Hi, I`m visiting US, by the way , I want to buy an iphone 6s because it`s less expensive than in my country Portugal. Which version do you suggest for me to avoid all problem regarding 4G LTE bands and have better cover in my home country? thank you very much in advance.

23. Senthilg

Posts: 49; Member since: Apr 07, 2016

You can go to any Apple store and ask for an unlocked Iphone 6S. There is only one version of unlocked Iphone that Apple sells which will work across most of the countries

24. rtaheri

Posts: 1; Member since: Jul 25, 2016

Does a SIM card stay tied to the bands/frequencies of the carrier that sold it to me? I ask because when I travel to Europe, and add a roaming plan from Verizon to my iPhone 6 or iPad Mini 4, they work just fine, but I cannot get them to work in 4G LTE. But if I buy a local SIM card, the devices display the LTE icon. Reading this post (thanks, Victor!), I think I can see why. If the Verizon SIM card is tied to one of the 4 Verizon bands, then it cannot do LTE in Europe even though the iPad itself is capable of using the European LTE bands. Is that correct? Thanks, Reza

26. Victor.H

Posts: 1062; Member since: May 27, 2011

No, it's the phone that supports certain LTE bands, not the SIM card.

25. Trevnerdio

Posts: 1; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

Band 2 isn't just deployed where Band 4 is absent on T-Mobile, they're utilizing carrier aggregation to combine the 2 (or even 3) frequencies into "1" to boost download speeds and capacities.

27. jweaver

Posts: 9; Member since: Mar 23, 2017

Want to report some typos made on this. First off Band 26 is 800 MHz and the following: “Sprint's 4G LTE network runs on bands 24, 25 and 41 with band 25 in the 1900 MHz range being the carrier's primary frequency. Bands 24 and 41 are used to boost the capacity of the network and its speed. In Sprint marketing speak, markets that support all three bands are denoted as Sprint Spark compatible.” The corrected statement: Sprint's 4G LTE network runs on bands 26, 25 and 41 with band 25 in the 1900 MHz range being the carrier's primary frequency. Bands 26 and 41 are used to boost the capacity of the network and its speed. In Sprint marketing speak, markets that support all three bands are denoted as LTE Plus compatible. This is comparable to fake news because of inaccuracies of information.

28. strategic_developer

Posts: 1627; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

I think what PA is trying to say which they did say is, the phone you have may not work on another carriers 4G network. The iPhone does support all r carriers LTE networks from one device and some Galaxy models with the SnapDragon could work with some flashing. Based on what I found, in Samsung Galaxy that all use QC modem, you would need to be able to use ODIN to fasl the proper LTE bands to your phone.. XDA has several and you can Google them too. However you can place all Galaxt devices in Global mode and they with use UTMS which should get you access to data. Just not 4G. Many devices will support 3G. Many carriers no longer offer 2G or lesser.

30. Junito

Posts: 145; Member since: Feb 12, 2012

I'm glad you mentioned band 14. Essential for first responders, prioritized.

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