Best Cell Service

January 5, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
When it comes to cell service, there are plenty of hang ups these days. Unhappy customers are joining class action lawsuits and Washington lawmakers are proposing tighter regulations.Meanwhile, what's a consumer to do?

This Sprint ad touts fast-moving service. But sprint speed for many apparently isn't good enough.

Consumer Reports' latest survey of cell-phone users rated Sprint among the lowest of the five major carriers.

Rosalind Tordesillas, Consumer Reports, says "This is the sixth year of our survey. Sprint was consistently among the lowest-rated in satisfaction, dropped calls, and customer service."

And AT&T, home of the acclaimed iPhone, had reported problems with static and gaps in service in many of the 20 cities surveyed.

In the Consumer Reports national research center survey of more than 47,000 cell-phone users, only 45% were highly satisfied with their service.

"Among the top complaints were the required contract extensions when you change your phone or plan. But recently several big carriers have announced plans to eliminate these mandatory contract Extensions," says Tordesillas.

Controversial early termination fees are also being reexamined. Several major carriers have agreed to prorate them over the course of the contract.

The survey shows the top reason people switched their cell-service carrier in the past three years was poor service. That includes dropped calls and poor coverage.

Among the better cell providers in the survey, Verizon Wireless, with better-than-average phone service.

And T-Mobile was comparable to Verizon Wireless in many cities.

Tordesillas says, "If you're looking for a new carrier, your best bet is to start with one that did well in our survey."

Consumer Reports says if you're going with a new cell provider, consider a one-year plan. The phone may cost you more, but you'll have the flexibility to change service in a year if you're not happy with it.

And Consumer Reports says take advantage of the 14-to-30-day free trial period offered by carriers. If you find you're not happy with the service, you're free to cancel it without paying fees or penalties.


Load Comments