Cellular Service in Montana

The cellular network operators in Montana are Verizon and AT&T. If you're a T-Mobile customer, then you can roam on AT&T's network in Montana. For example, T-Mobile prepaid customers get a 200 MB allowance).

However, I use MintSIM, and this T-Mobile mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) does not roam on AT&T in Montana.

[I have editing left to do here... I wish Ghost could save a draft of a post update!]

For the best service on AT&T network, get a phone that supports 3G Band 2 ("PCS") and 4G LTE Band 17.

Billings, MT Cellular Service

  • ATT Mobility: I recommend supporting 3G Band 2 and 4G Band 17 for general use around Billings.
    • 3G Band 2: Downtown (6 towers), Heights/Lockwood (4)
    • 3G Band 5: Downtown (4), Heights/Lockwood (2)
    • 4G Band 17: Downtown (4), Heights/Lockwood (2)
    • 4G Band 4: Downtown (3), Heights/Lockwood (1)

Note: Supported Bands unknown for one Downtown tower.

Bozeman, MT Area Cellular Service

  • AT&T Mobility: I recommend supporting 3G Band 2 and 4G Band 17 for general use around the Bozeman area.
    • 3G Band 2: Bozeman (7 towers), Gallatin Gateway (1), Livingston (3), Bozeman Pass (1).
    • 3G Band 5: Gallatin Gateway (1), Livingston (2), Bozeman Pass (3).
    • 4G Band 17: Bozeman (3), Belgrade (1).
    • 4G Band 5: Bear Canyon (1), Belgrade (1).
    • 4G Band 4: Belgrade (1).

Note: Supported Bands unknown for four Belgrade towers.

Phone for use on T-Mobile and AT&T

  • 3G Band 2: (1900 MHz, PCS A-F) is the band that T-Mobile and AT&T share, so you'd definitely want a phone that supports this.
  • 3G Band 5: (850 MHz CLR) is only supported by AT&T.
  • 4G Bands 12, 17, 5, 4, 66, 2, and 25 are used by both T-Mobile and AT&T.

Specific Phones Considered

Blackberry Priv STV100-1
  • 3G UMTS/HSDPA:
    • 1900 MHz (Band 2, "PCS") for AT&T and T-Mobile.
    • 850 MHz (Band 5, "CLR") for AT&T only.
    • 1700 MHz ("AWS") for T-Mobile only.
    • 900 MHz ("E-GSM") and 2100 MHz ("IMT") for international use.
  • 4G LTE:
    • 700 MHz (Band 12, 17), 850 (5), 1900 (2), 1700/2100 (4) for both AT&T and T-Mobile.
    • 700 MHz (Band 29), 2300 (30) for AT&T only.
    • 2600 MHz (Band 7), 2100 (1), 1800 (3), 800 (20) for international use.
Adafruit FONA 3G (SIM5320A)

Updates

  • MintSIM does not have the roaming partnership with AT&T that T-Mobile has, even though MintSIM resells T-Mobile service. So prepaid service with T-Mobile will get you AT&T roaming in Montana, but service with MintSIM will not.
  • T-Mobile service may be expanded soon in Montana. See this and this.

References