How To Choose The Best Cell Phone Service Provider

By: Jim Johnson

You may have heard it said that a cell phone is only as good as the network it communicates with, and that is a very true statement. So although choosing the right cell phone for your personal use will be important, the most important decision you can make when buying a cell phone is which network you plan to use.

Unfortunately, it's not very easy to compare cell phone providers head-to-head. This is because most phones that work on one network will not usually work on any of the other cell phone networks. So it's hard to make a direct comparison using the same equipment. It's also hard to compare cell phone providers because service can vary dramatically from one location to another. So how can you make an honest comparison of cell phone providers regarding their performance and service?

Perhaps the best way to compare cell phone companies is through massive consumer surveys that get opinions from people all across the country on the various cell phone provider networks. Actually, several of these consumer surveys have been conducted by some well-known consumer groups and magazines. One such survey collected information from over 50,000 people in 18 major cities across the US. Another polled over 24,000 households regarding their cell phone usage. So by compiling the data from these large consumer surveys, some very clear patterns began to emerge that can be useful for the average person when they are buying a cell phone.

On most of the surveys that were conducted, two companies did extremely well in both performance and customer service, and they are Verizon and T-Mobile. It also became apparent through most of the surveys that the companies offering the cheapest service plans are usually not able to offer the best service or cell phone network performance, so essentially you get what you pay for in a cell phone plan.

These independent reviews establish that both Verizon and T-Mobile had excellent reputations for performance with fewer dropped calls and circuit overloads than most of the other carriers. In general, several reviewers were of the opinion that Verizon's service was slightly better than T-Mobile's, but the differences were very slight, and hardly worth mentioning.

It should be noted that T-Mobile uses a GSM network that is compatible with most networks overseas, making it an excellent choice for consumers who travel internationally and want to be able to use their cell phone when they do. Verizon on the other hand works on the CDMA network instead, and is not compatible with other international cell phone networks.

If you would like to examine the results of the cell phone surveys even closer, you can find them at the web sites for Consumer Reports, PC World, and J.D. Power and Associates, as well as others.

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