Cellular Coverage in the Pine Tree State

May 30, 2013

Cell Coverage in MaineThis blog post is a bit off topic, it’s about cell phone coverage in the state of Maine. More and more people are keeping tabs on their work, family and social media accounts while traveling with their mobiles. Even though cell coverage has grown a lot in the last decade, there are still many places in Maine with no coverage.

I think I have a unique perspective on this. Born, raised and still reside in rural Maine, spend most my free time going to more secluded places in the state. From Mount Katahdin to miles off-shore to Moosehead Lake to the Machias River area to the northwestern corner, I have spend every vacation I have taken but two in this state. Here are few places I go and what I have found for cell service.

Baxter State Park

Here is a general rule of thumb in BSP, if you are above the treeline, your phone will work, but not below it. You can make phone calls and upload photos to facebook from the Baxter summit. In fact, first person to post a photo to facebook of yourself at the sign at the top, has been used to race to top using different trails by many.

On the way to the BSP southern entrance, if you have something important to check on, you should do it shortly after driving under the railroad tracks, because your coverage will start to get spotty and will be gone by the time you get to Ambajejus Lake.

Within 10 Miles of I-95

Your good, 99% of the time. It may give you just a slightly hard time in between Sherman and Island Falls, but normally it works.

North-West of Millinocket

Nearly non-existent. Don’t plan on having coverage of any point that is both north and west of Millinocket. There are just a few spots on the Golden Road and a few spots in Baxter State Park that are the exception here.


Works surprisingly well. I wish I had measured with my gps, but I am going to guess like 10 miles out in most places, your phone will still work.

Washington County

I learned this one the hard way, getting stuck in the mud while smelting. Another story for another day.

If you can mentally picture a square. The left side of the square is route 2, from Lincoln to the Bangor area, then the top of the square is route 6 from Lincoln to Topsfield. The right side of the square is route 1, Topsfield to Calais. The bottom of the square is route 9 from Calais to Eddington (and we need route 178 to make a complete square if are serious about your geometry). If you can mentally see that square, there is coverage on the edges of the square in most places, but nearly no coverage inside the square.

Moosehead Lake

Coverage around Moosehead is pretty weak, but it’s there. Slow internet and repeating your self on the phone is normal.   On the places within a few miles of the lake it’s somewhat acceptable, but step back from the lake a few miles and it gets spotty. On the water coverage is great, which I am grateful for, once was stranded on Sugar Island with a broken boat and a very pregnant wife. Again, another story for another day.

Actually this is true of Rangeley lakes and Flagstaff Lake. Coverage is okay close to water’s edge and on the water.

In Closing

This is not an exhaustive list, only a summary of common places with iffy coverage in Maine. I have found texting is the last thing to give out too. When voice is not working or too choppy and data has disappeared, texting works right until the very end of coverage. Another hint is elevation. Sounds crazy, but standing on a big rock and holding the phone over your head will sometimes make the difference.


Alan has been creating websites since CompuServe was huge. Today he still is developing websites using technologies such as CSS3, HTML5, jQuery and CakePHP.

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