I'm looking to cut some monthly cost and am beginning with my cell phone. I am quite unhappy with my T-Mobile service (coverage and billing).
I make quite a few calls per month (50/50 business/personal) and was wanting to get some recommendations on what would be the best company, plan to go with.
Any advice is very much welcome. Thanks.
You might want to check out Consumer Reports. They released their cell phone issue a few months ago. They break it down city-by-city so you can get more detailed information on the coverage quality. Here's a brief article about it:
"Alltel and Verizon got high marks across the board for connectivity.T-Mobile had relatively high satisfaction scores, but customers experienced problems with lack of service in some cities. Subscribers also highlighted problems with AT&T for gaps in service and static, and with Sprint for dropped calls. "
"Alltel, T-Mobile, and Verizon were the better choices in a bad lot for customer service. "
AT&T and Verizon plans have identical price structures. I've had both and greatly prefer Verizon, especially in DC area (service in the metro!).
Earljam, I've been a fan of Alltel www.alltel.com since the late 80's (when it was called Centel, then Sprint (different than current Sprint), then 360 and finally Alltel a few years ago). They were one of the original 2 providers in the 1980's and have always had the most towers in "off the beaten path" locations, ie, not in big cities and main highways, so their coverage has always been better than the newer companies. Plus, their rate plans have always been better than Verizon (originally Cellular One).Their customer service, whether on the phone or at stores, has always taken care of any small problems I've had, and honestly, I've never had a billing problem in 20 years.
I know Sprint and I think Verizon are both offering unlimited service for $99.99/month, but you've got to talk an awful lot to need that, even if you have a supplemental data access fee tacked onto your voice plan. I'm sure Alltel will come up with a competitive plan soon, and they let you change plans at any time without changing your contract. And other than not having the iPhone, they offer all the smart phones that everyone else has (Blackberry @$150, MotoQ @$50, etc.)
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If you're making calls for work, can you get any reimbursements from the new gig?
Also, you should check to see if you can get any discounts by virtue of being employed where you are. I would imagine Sprint, T-Mo, ATT & Verizon all would offer some sort of discount (15%-20% on service, up to 50% on hardware/accessories.)
I've had Sprint for 3-4 years and been very happy with it. I can always get a signal and rarely is it in "roaming" mode. Only place I haven't been able to get a signal is in Pisgah National Forest, which was just peachy with me.
I've found Sprint plans to be on the whole cheaper than competitor plans on a per-minute basis. I pay about $75 a month for the "Fair and Flexible" plan that automatically adjusts for how many minutes I use without killing me on rates. We have two phones on the plan and I have nights & weekends starting at 7pm, as well as free calls to anyone else on Sprint.
That being said, customer service with Sprint is sometimes lacking. The closest store to me is usually overcrowded and requires a wait. I've typically been able to get an agent on the phone pretty easily, and never had any problems getting my questions answered, however. Plus, every 2 years you can upgrade your phone (for another 2 year contract), which is nice.
I've used both AT&T and Sprint in Atlanta proper (inside the perimeter) and had no real issues.
"There can BE only one."
I've had Verizon for years and been very happy with it. I've lived in 3 different states (NC, MD, and now KY) and have always had better reception than my friends with different providers. The cost is competitive, but usually not lower than others, but my wife and I have stuck with them for the service. We do not even have a home phone, so reception has always been key for us.
The other nice thing about verizon is that all your calls to other people with Verizon are free no matter the time of day. My wife works from home and uses it extensively. We share a 900 minute plan and have only gone over the minutes twice in the past 3 years...
The complaints about Verizon are phone selection and cost. I've found the cost to be competitive, but would agree that the phones themselves are usually a bit behind...
I do a lot of travel for work - most of it to remote, rural areas. I chose Alltell for their superior coverage in rural areas. If I were not in remote areas a lot I would have shopped based more on price. I've been really happy with Alltell, even though they seem a little more expensive than some other services.
I'd avoid Sprint. I never had problems getting a signal, though a lot of my friends did in northern Virginia. I recently dropped them because the customer service was awful. I called about a question on my bill one day, and when I checked online to make sure it was corrected, they had signed me up for a 2 year contract extension. After fighting for another hour they changed it back to the original date, though they made it sound like they were doing me a favor and not that they had made a mistake.
Then last week I got a bill for an early termination fee. I had checked several times before I cancelled to make sure that would not happen, yet it did. I immediately called and the customer service rep agreed to credit my account. I called a couple days later to make sure it happened, and not surprsingly it had not. So that rep again agreed to make the credit, and at least sent an email after it was done, so I'm somewhat confident it is over with now.
Sprint never admitted to a mistake on their part, they just made it sound like they were doing me a favor. I consider their business practices to be fraudulent at this point.
I've had verizon for 2.5 years and have been really pleased with the service, both the phone itself and customer service. I chose verizon as I get a deal through work, so second what DevilAlumna said about checking with HR to see if your company has any deals with certain carriers.
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I switched to Verizon because I also got a discount through my job. I've only been with them for a month and a half, but no problems. Good coverage, no customer service issues. The salesman at the store went out of his way to explain their billing system so I wouldn't be surprised by anything.
Like Ozzie I was an Alltel customer through various incarnations of the company. The last straw was when the phone wouldn't work for 9 months out of 12 .... it was in the shop with no offer of a permanent replacement for what was obviously defective. There was always a long line when I went into the store to get service for the non working instrument. The service was so slow that I saw law enforcement officers leave after waiting unsuccessfully to get their phones serviced. I switched to Verizon about 6 or 7 years ago and have loved the phones, the service and coverage.
If you want a data plan, the best deal I've found is the Sprint SERO plan which requires a Sprint employee to refer you -- by telling you his/her work email address. Google around for how this might be possible... Anyway it's $30/month for 500 minutes, unlimited data, unlimited text, and free calls 7pm-7am (I think). Individual phones only, no family plans, minute sharing, etc.
I was a Sprint customer for about 6 years. I got rid of it about 2 years ago when I was in Miami because my cell phone wouldn't work in my apartment. Or at school. Or in a club. Or anywhere in Miami. I switched to Cingular/AT&T because the price was right and I loved their phones (plus the fact that I could just pop out the SIM card when I went overseas and still use the phone with a SIM card from a carrier abroad).
I'm still with AT&T today in DC and it works perfectly. It doesn't work on the Metro, only Verizon does, but even those with Verizon get spotty service on the Metro, and let's be real, I don't really need to call anyone on the phone on the 15-30 minutes I'm riding. I had a European phone (one that is not sold in the U.S.), but recently got an iPhone. I'm perfectly happy with the service I'm getting. Customer service I've found to be much better as well.
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