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Customer Satisfaction Study: Cell Phone Service Provider Comparison

Updated on August 8, 2012

So Many Choices

With so many choices in cell phone plans and service providers, it's difficult finding the plan that suits all of your coverage needs. Top ranked cell phone companies such as Verizon Wireless, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint fight to see who has the best coverage area, the fastest 3G network in the country, and who has fewer dropped calls.

Top Rated Service Providers

An annual survey conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center that gathers the responses from tens of thousands of cell phone customers has a full report on The Best Cell Phone Service in their January 2010 report.

While no cell phone service is perfect, many of the leading providers offer plans that rank #1 in many categories such as: coverage areas, fastest 3G, best calling plans, and who has the fewest dropped calls. The following comparisons summarize the top qualities of the leading service providers.

Verizon Wireless

  • The nation's largest carrier.
  • A standout in customer support.
  • Offers unlimited free "Friends & Family" calling.
  • A leader in satisfaction and connectivity.
  • Motorola Droid and HTC Droid Incredible.
  • Has a highly rated prepaid service plan.


  • Similar overall customer satisfaction as Verizon, with cheaper rates.
  • No comparison to Verizon in connectivity or customer service.
  • One of the cheapest carriers for text and multimedia messages and web access.
  • Most phones can be used outside the United States.
  • Spotty coverage when compared to AT&T and Verizon.


  • Second largest premium cellular carrier.
  • Home to the iPhone, and rollover minutes.
  • Most phones can be used outside the United States.
  • Ranks below other prepaid service plans.
  • Spotty coverage when compared with Verizon and Sprint 3G data only network.


  • Inferior overall customer satisfaction when compared to other plans.
  • Unlimited free mobile-to-mobile calling on any cell network under certain plans.
  • High speed network and low priced plan rates.
  • Samsung Instinct or Palm Pre.
  • More high speed data service customers than the competition.


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