Wireless Carriers: Getting The Best Reception

by Cathy L. Kimble

Cellular phones rely on the carriers strength. The signal makes the phone. This can mean the difference to a phone being a good phone or a great phone. You can easily take as much time to find the best calling plans and area reception as you would to finding the best cellular telephone. The problem is, locating information about calling plans is tough because this involves comparing oh so many variables. That is why a lot of online review sites avoid this subject.

J.D. Power and Associates has said that the level of quality on wireless phone service is so high that land lines (you remember, your house phone) have pretty much become unnecessary. But then again, there is not much that can be more confusing that statistics. See comScore Networks for example, they have it down as 1 in 4 wireless customers are not happy with their carriers service. Which such a great variation in statistics you can see that cell phone technology is still in its early stages of growth. If you were to speak to a friend and bring up cellular reception, watch out! you are sure to hear horror stories. J.D. Power and Associates also says that customers who attempted to resolve a problem using a carriers tech support/service and was unable to do so, were 6 times more prone to changing carriers. Another annoyance is that if you aren’t happy with the phone itself, your still stuck to cell phone carriers contract, cancellation fees and all. These fees were introduced to help carriers maintain customers even when they are not satisfaction. Here is a quick rundown on wireless carrier ranking.

As said by comScore, Verizon as a Wireless Service Provider has continuously raked tops in both coverage and service. And, surprisingly, a low six percent of their customer break the contract.

AT&T/Cingular come in second, just behind Verizon. Alltels customer service contract breakers are more numerous, coming in at 9 percent, while Sprint/Nextel have an even higher dissatisfaction rating at 11 percent. At the bottom of the heap is T-Mobile, with 15% of customers wanting to break out of contract obligations.

The above comScore survey is not location specific and uses the percentage of customers breaking the service contract as the main determinant for popularity. A J.D. Power and Associates survey does confirm Verizon as the leader, but adds that this is particularly true in the Northeast, where Verizons coverage is the strongest. T-Mobile, with the lowest rating in the comScore survey, actually ranked first in the Southwest, according to JD Power. Moreover, Verizon also ranks lower in terms of the phones that run its service, which tend to use CDMA technology rather than GSM. As a result, Verizon phones tend to not accept SIM cards (Subscriber Identity Modules) which prevents their use when travelling overseas. Verizons rates also ranked as considerably more expensive than its rivals, and though its customer service gets high marks, its bills tend to be confusing to read.

J.D. Powers also claims that Sprint has a strong popularity in the Southwest, yet concedes that Sprint also ranks lowest in call quality. The latter statistic was also confirmed by a PC Magazine survey. By contrast, PC Magazine ranks T-Mobile as the best carrier in terms of pricing, and second only to Alltel in service plan options. T-Mobile also offers its service on a wide variety of cell phones with GSM/SIM card compatibility enabling international use.

Prepaid cell phones deserve their own category all together. Virgin Mobile won the highest marks, just ahead of TracFone and T-Mobile respectively. Verizon, AT&T , follow in order of decreasing popularity, with poor Sprint/ Nextel once again at the bottom of the heap.

Which carrier you choose may depend not only on how many phone calls you need to make but also on what part of the country you will be using your phone. Also if you travel a lot internationally and even what type of cell phone will best suit your needs. It pays to do the research and ulimatley avoid being trapped in a contract that you are unhappy with.

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