Verizon: Best Nationwide Cell Service

Consumer Reports has released the results of their cell phone customer service survey. Sprint and Cingular were among the lower-rated performers, while Verizon came out near the top of all cities surveyed. Apparently in Cleveland, Pheonix and Tampa there is a company called Alltel that people are very fond of as well.

Even though Verizon won the battle, people still hate cell phone carriers. From the press release:

    Cell service remains one of the lowest rated services that Consumer Reports tracks. Readers gave cell service an overall satisfaction rate of 66 out of 100, which puts cell service among the ranks of cable TV and computer tech support.

    Call quality remains an aggravation for many cell phone users, Consumer Reports’ survey shows. In fact, 54 percent of respondents who switched carriers during the past three years attributed their decision to poor phone service.”

Speaking of poor phone service, only 1 in 25 cell phone users were able to successfully connect to 911.

Consumer Reports also has a guide to avoiding the 10 most insidious ways that cell phone carriers increase your bill. Having worked for a cell phone company during college, we can confirm that this particular bit of advice is excellent and will often lead to free phones for the persistent negotiator:

My provider is already nagging me to sign up for another two years.

Carriers will do almost anything to keep you in their contractual grip, whether that’s offering discounted or free phones with the latest technology or giving you additional airtime for the same price.

CR’s advice: Don’t be pressured. Usually you can just continue with your current plan on a month-to-month basis, which gives you the freedom to switch carriers or upgrade equipment whenever you decide to. If you do decide to renew, don’t hesitate to try negotiating for better terms. This might be the only point in the process when you, not the provider, hold the upper hand. Enjoy it.”—MEGHANN MARCO

Avoid these 10 rip-offs and gotchas [Consumer Reports]
Cingular and Sprint Poorer Performers in Consumer Reports Latest Cell Service Ratings; Photo Available