Our Top 5 list of Best Cell Phone Service Providers come from user feedback spreading multiple forums and websites and from personal experience. Nick has been a customer of 4 of the 5 major cell phone service providers (exception being US Cellular) pre- and post-merger of these companies (exception being the Verizon/Alltel merger). Nick is currently a satisfied customer with AT&T Wireless. Why so many? No, it wasn’t to eventually create a review, but various reasons came into play – moving to college and service had no reception in that area, service reception just sucked, bad customer service, among many other reasons. Nick has used all 4 of the companies as both his cell and home phone. The areas that Nick has tried these cell phone companies are: California (mainly around San Diego, Los Angeles and Orange counties), Oregon, Illinois (including Chicago and suburbs), Indiana (in and around Indianapolis, West Lafayette, Bloomington, and South Bend), Minnesota, Georgia (only around Atlanta), and Rhode Island. Nick certainly understands the common complaints and praises. These are our Top 5 – Best Cell Phone Service Companies. Ridicule us, praise us, hate us, love us for our list.
Please note that there will always be exceptions to individual experiences.
We understand the needs of any one individual or family will differ. This is a quick summary of the costs of the 5 cell phone providers. In terms of the price of individual plans, the individual plan prices at all levels are exactly the same between Verizon Wireless, AT&T, and US Cellular (nationwide plan) with the exception being T-Mobile. US Cellular is by far the cheapest if choosing their “widearea” plan, which only caters to the 25-26 states that they cover. In terms of the price of basic family plans, the basic family plan prices at all levels are exactly the same between Verizon Wireless, AT&T, and US Cellular (again nationwide plan only) with the exception being T-Mobile. T-Mobile sells their family minute plans on different “minute” levels than the other 4, but on a per-minute cost, T-Mobile is the cheapest of all nationwide individual and family plans. All other companies are exactly the same in regards to the basic plan, not the plans with added features. The reason why some cell phone service providers are more “expensive” is because of the cost of adding these additional options/features.
5 (4b). Sprint Nextel
* Night and weekends start at 7:00 PM, which is 2 hours earlier than the other cell phone service companies
* Free minutes on incoming calls
* 1-year contract as opposed to the standard 2-year contract (you decide if requiring any contract is a pro)
* Strong business-friendly features – 1st mover in walkie-talkie technology – a surprisingly useful function
* Fast internet
* No international plans
* Coverage is not as expansive as Verizon Wireless or AT&T, which inevitably means weaker signals, more dropped calls, echoing, etc.
* Limited/outdated phone selection
* Since merger in 2005, plans are not as good a deal as pre-merger
* Post merger, customer service has dropped off as they try to be helpful – the end result should be good news for the customer, not a moot point for customer service
Personal experience: Sprint has always had a limited selection of phones, which to me, really didn’t matter. However, as I started relying on my cell phone more and more, I started to care about the looks of my phone (the needs for certain functions remained the same). The phone selection is limited and in many cases seem outdated. From my experience with customer service, Sprint (Nextel) was actually #1 on my list pre-merger in 2005, but it has dropped since then. The customer service pre-merger was excellent – consistent bills from month to month, credits on bogus charges I disputed, and free “loyalty program offers” such as free internet for 6 months. Since the merger in 2005, the customer service still tries to be very helpful, but it gets to the point where you want to start yelling through your phone because of the frustration. Sprint’s coverage will be hit or miss if you travel, however, if you’re just going to the city for work and going back home to the suburbs, the service will stay consistent for the most part.