When evaluating cellphone providers, it is important to consider the following criteria before subscribing with a provider: quality, coverage, customer satisfaction, plans and phones. Some cellphone providers rank higher than others in specific categories and so you should determine what things make good perks and which ones are crucial to you before choosing one.
Call quality is important to all cellphone users; you want a seamless cellphone experience with the least number of dropped calls possible. Verizon Wireless has received numerous awards from ratings firm J.D. Power and Associates for its network quality. In the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 Wireless Call Quality Performance Study, Verizon Wireless was the award recipient in the Northeast, Southeast, Southwest and West regions. US Cellular was the award recipient in the North Central region and AT&T tied with Verizon Wireless in the Mid Atlantic region. Dropped calls and static or signal interference are among the measures evaluated in the study.
Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile are the four largest cellphone providers in the nation and offer the most comprehensive nationwide coverage. For international travelers and callers, AT&T's service allows international calling in more countries than any of the other U.S. providers. When evaluating providers based on nationwide coverage, bear in mind that there may be regions where coverage is not available. Check the places you are most likely to visit on the provider's coverage map to see which one will provide you with the best coverage based on the places you are most likely to visit. When it comes to cellular service, the provider that meets your coverage needs may not work so well for other subscribers.
When customers are pleased with a cellphone provider's customer service and offerings, that provider will most likely receive high customer satisfaction ratings. In J.D. Power and Associates' 2011 Wireless Customer Care Performance Study, T-Mobile received the award for the best customer care. Verizon followed closely in the ratings. ConsumerReports.org surveyed 58,000 readers in 2010 and found that US Cellular beat out Verizon Wireless and the other three top carriers as the top-rated provider for contract service. Sprint outshone Verizon Wireless in some areas of customer service and tied with the provider in overall customer satisfaction. Verizon Wireless was the undisputed top provider in Consumer Reports' customer satisfaction ratings in most of the years since 2003.
Plans and Phones
Finding a plan and phone that fits within your budget may be just as important as finding a provider with stellar customer service. Who you feel is the best in this area will vary according to the provider that can best meet your needs. As of June, 2011, AT&T and Verizon are the only approved wireless carriers for the iPhone, one of the top-selling smartphones on the market. While both providers offer unlimited nationwide calling plans, neither provider offers an unlimited nationwide text, talk and data plan. Sprint and T-Mobile do.