Best Cell Phone Carriers: Small Providers Top The Big Four In New Consumer Reports Survey

by Mike Gikas, Consumer Reports

Using smartphone to hail a ride


Odds are you haven’t made any changes to your cell service in years. That’s too bad. According to Consumer Reports National Research Center’s recent survey of about 90,000 subscribers, nearly half of the people who switched cell phone carriers in the past year saw their monthly rates drop by $20 or more. And roughly 40 percent said they enjoyed more reliable coverage, faster data service, and better customer service. However, only 6 percent of our readers switched cell phone carriers—perhaps more should consider shopping around.

Many of the most satisfied respondents are those who use smaller cell phone providers such as Consumer Cellular, Cricket, Page Plus Cellular, Republic Wireless, and Ting Wireless. Exceptional scores for value helped propel these cellphone providers to the top for overall customer satisfaction. These companies offer lower costs and responsive, knowledgeable staff members. And some of them compensate subscribers who use less service than they’ve planned for. For instance, Republic Wireless and Ting Wireless charge customers only for the minutes, texts, and data actually used—not what consumers signed up for.

Three of the Big Four cell phone carriers—AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon—lined the bottom of the customer-satisfaction barrel, while T-Mobile led the Big Four in terms of overall customer satisfaction.

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