Alaska Coverage

  • 29 January 2016
  • 9 replies

I am going to Alaska and would like to know more about the coverage. I already checked the coverage map and it indicated that there is "partner coverage". I also read that the partner coverage is provided by roaming on AT&T's network.


Has anybody else been to Alaska and can confirm if it was decent coverage?


Is there a charge to roam on AT&T's network? I read someone else's question posted here and one answer was contradictory regarding pricing. The answer stated calling is free but then it said calling is .20 per minute so I'm curious which it is.


Is there anything we need to do to ready our phones (iPhone 6plus and Samsung Note 4) to be able to use the AT&T network?


Thanks for your help.


Best answer by tmo_ryan 29 January 2016, 20:42

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9 replies

Userlevel 2

Hi @leahrenae76

Do you have a regular monthly account (postpaid) or are you prepaid?

Do you know where all you'll be yet?

Roaming in Alaska will be on either GCI or  AT&T.

When you're on GCI, it's treated like you're on T-Mobile's network from a bucket. In the places where you might see AT&T, texting/calling is just like normal (included in your plan if you've got a normal postpaid account). For data roaming, you can check out Domestic data roaming FAQs to see how much data you might have available. We have a great roaming deal with GCI, AT&T isn't quite as generous.

As for coverage, I drove from Canada across through Fairbanks, down to Anchorage and the peninsula below, then back out to Canada. Coverage is generally pretty good. Obviously it's Alaska so there's a lot of nature but if you've looked at the places on the coverage map and it shows service then you should be at least able to call and text. I was chatting (both carrierS), texting (both carriers) and even streaming music/videos (on GCI) throughout my trip.

Hi tmo_ryan,

Thank you for the information you provided.

I have a regular monthly account with the Simple Choice unlimited 4G data plan. On the Domestic data roaming FAQs link, the table shows that if you have unlimited data you're limited to 50MB of roaming. Is that the regular unlimited data, not the plan I'm on where I pay an extra $10/mo to have truly unlimited 4G data?

We're taking a cruise and the first two ports are Ketchikan and Juneau.

Userlevel 2

The 50MB would be the roaming allotment for the Truly Unlimited plan.

The great news though is that as far as I can tell both Juneau and Ketchikan are showing as GCI for roaming so you should be golden.

Hi Ryan,

Thank you for your informative posts on exceptional roaming coverage in Alaska.  I am interested in purchasing a 'GPS Smart Sole‌' for my 75 YO Mom whom lives in Anchorage, AK 99508.   Glady's unfortunately has dementia borderline Alzheimers.  This product has great reviews and features but is dependent and available "wherever T-Mobile coverage is available".  Would this product work in Alaska without a TMobile account as TMobile is not offered in Alaska at this time but appears you have a cooperative agreement with GCI and AT&T for TMobile devices.

Appreciate your time and consideration in advance.

Best Regards.


Userlevel 3

Hey @davidnovaak‌ 😀

Products like that do require primary native T-Mobile coverage, so I would not work for a situation such as yours where roaming would be the primary. 😥

I wish I had a more favorable answer and hope you are able to find something that works for you and your mom!


Hi David,

i am currently in Alaska. I have with me an IPhone 7 plus and a OnePlus 5, both with tmobile Pre-pay sims. Both claim to be connected to GCI with 3G connectivity, neither deliver mobile internet. Spoken with tmo support and they can't solve the problem. Seen others in these forum with similar issues. As I am on vacation I do not want to spend hours online or on the phone to tmo support - so in the end I went into town and bought an AT&T pre-paid sim for $30 which works like a dream. Of course only works if your phone is unlocked.

not the first time tmo has let me down when roaming in exotic places. I would strongly recommend if mobile internet is important to you in far flung parts like Alaska or North Dakota choosing an alternative supplier.


I have not hit a data cap, but I do connect with wifi at home. How "generous" will my 'unlimited' data be on GCI?

I live in Alaska where T-Mobile's coverage map shows that I get 4G LTE coverage, and so was enticed by T-Mobile's 55 Plus plan, 2 lines for $60 unlimited text, voice, AND data (for those over the age of 55). I have discovered that the coverage map is misleading. I get GCI where I live (and AT&T, but my phone seems to lock onto the GCI tower now that I am with T-Mobile), and coverage seems decent.

GCI has very good coverage in AK, especially in and near remote villages. It is the carrier of choice for Alaskans that work or live in remote places. However, GCI isn't very good outside the state. I think many Alaskans would be interested in T-Mobile if they could get the best of both worlds...

Partner coverage tends to be provided by GCI and more or less is indistinguishable from “normal” T-Mobile coverage. When I moved to Alaska last year I too had concerns about the carrier and was told about the partner program. It does work like that... BUT, GCI calls it domestic roaming, and after you use your data allotment (5GB), you are throttled back to “Courtesy 2G” which is essentially nothing. I’m not kidding, you can pretty much only make voice calls. No maps, no texts, definitely no browsing or streaming. even with very conservative data use I maybe get to 2/3 through each billing cycle. Im on T-Mobile One Unlimited and it makes zero difference, you might as well count on 5 GB

to circle back to the original question though, it will work, but there is a cap. Find and use WiFi as much as possible to save your data

T Mobile offers better service in foreign countries than Alaska. I just returned from two months in Thailand. With my T Mobile hot spot I had wifi internet anywhere I went. I live in Alaska and was so impressed with the service in Thailand I contacted customer service to change my provider to T Mobile. I was assured that I could port my Alaska, 907 area code, to T Mobil and I would not be roaming in Alaska after the change. WRONG information from T Mobile customer service! After I signed the contract and tried to port my Alaska phone number I was told they cannot port my number and I will be roaming!