I Have A Question – What Cell Phone Service Do You Use And Why?

This evening I received a request for my opinion on what is the best cell phone system. My only experience with cell phone service is what I personally use. So I thought I would ask you what cell phone service you use and why?

Thanks for any input you can provide.

Article Written by

I have been writing for LockerGnome since relocating to Missouri seven years ago, where I continue to be a technology enthusiast who enjoys playing with the newest and latest gadgets.

  • http://twitter.com/thetroyallen/ Troy Parquer

    I use Sprint because they have the phone I want (BlackBerry Tour) and an affordable family plan, which is key for my family.

  • Theodore

    As a person that has worked in the industry for many years, I can shed some light on this question. As much as the service providers what you to believe, it’s not the “best” service that you’re looking for but what works for your specific needs.

    The first thing I suggest you look at is the coverage in the areas that you work and live, not just your home address, but places you will be on a daily basis as well as places and areas that you plan to be. Every provider has a coverage map that will tell you the strength of signal you can expect at any address as well as overseas. Each carrier will have some areas that just doesn’t have coverage and if you find out about these later, well, too bad. Make sure to check voice as well as data coverage, while they generally mirror one another, that is not always the case. I have found that if you talk to family and friends, who are generally in the same areas you frequent, they can tell you what has worked for them. However, as you mentioned, a person can only give input on the carrier they have experience with. It is up to the individual to research further, keeping in mind what is important to them.

    Next, determine what you will be using the phone for. Will you be using it for emergencies only or will you want a phone with all the bells and whistles including data, text messaging, streaming radio, social networking, whatever. Data phones today generally require that you keep the data package on the line for the life of the contract, regardless of if you change to a non-data phone during that time. As far as pricing, when it comes down to the brass tacks, all carriers are about the same, with the exception of special offers used to pull you to one carrier or another.

    I have found that people also fail to realize that every carrier has a specific time in which you can return the phone for any reason. This time is anywhere from 14 to 30 days (Some states mandate the time you have). Use this time to go to the places you know you will need the phone and test it. If you have concerns or questions, call immediately or go into the store. After the “Buyer’s Remorse” time is up, it is very difficult to be released from the agreement.

    A word of warning on the return time. In RARE cases, usually from third party sellers, I have found that, if you have a problem, say with coverage, they will ask you to wait for it to be resolved. This waiting period does not stop the time you have to return the phone from counting down. In this manner, third party stores are able to put you off until it’s too late, keeping their commission. Most providers will understand the situation and make it right, but the store knows that after that amount of time the money cannot be taken away from them. It’s wrong, unethical and probably illegal, but it happens. So, if you return to a store for a problem and they ask you to wait beyond the return period, immediately demand that the device be returned and you are released from the agreement.

    I’ll stop here because this is turning into a post of its own and I might as well make some Adsense money from it, lol.

  • Ruth

    I use Credo Mobile. They use Sprint. What I like about it is that the company pays a percentage of the bill to progressive causes and keeps me informed of causes. Their rates are fair and the customer service is good. I rarely have reception problems or dropped calls. The drawback is the phone selection is limited. I’m not sure if you can use other phones with their plans. I have a Sanyo Katana phone and I’m happy with it; it serves my needs.

    Ive been using this company for years and I’m very happy with it.

  • Juan

    Sprint, but I will gladly move to whoever offers the first reasonable iPhone plan.

  • http://www.irecoverdata.com Kirk Mook

    StraightTalk. It’s a resold verizon service through Tracfone. I like the fact that it’s PrePaid service, and a decent phone. No contracts or exorbitant fees and taxes. Verizon provides great connect-ability as well.

    Prior to this, I’ve tried plain old Tracfone, Verizon through contract, and a prepaid Verizon phone. Straight talk seems like a good balance of usability, reliability, and cost. I don’t need their unlimited plan, rather go with the lesser 1000 min. plan, and don’t go anywhere near that limit. I no longer have to be careful about my minute usage or be stuck with a high priced contract I don’t fully utilize.

  • Juan

    Oh, sorry (watching Lost), as to why, Sprint is giving away the farm to keep customers right now. I looked into AT&T, but their business packages with the iPhone were way more expensive than Sprint. Needless to say, people in the office are not too happy with my opinion.

  • http://www.gavinstipsandtricks.co.nr/ Gavin Roskamp

    U.S. Cellular
    They are a small company, but have AMAZING service out here in the middle of nowhere. They have the best service around Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, and all these states where all us “hicks” live :)

    In my home, I get all six bars upstairs and four in the basement. We also have a cell phone that has 3G capabilities and it also gets 3G in the basement. It really is quite amazing service.

    When we took a vacation to Florida last summer, we had full service the whole way there, the whole time there, and the whole way back. That crosses tons of states and proves that they have great service in cities too.

    When we go to Chicago every year, we always have excellent service, both on the train ride up, and while we stay there.

    If there is one thing I can say bad about U.S. Cellular is the fact that their phone selection doesn’t include many of the “popular” phones. They have LG, Samsung, Motorola, and Blackberry mostly. They have only some of the Blackberry smartphones, and a few HTC smartphones. (And the LG Tritan, but that really isn’t a smartphone!)

    Overall, they have the best service, and since they are a smaller provider, you don’t have too many people trying to use it at once (AT&T).

    Verizon is the second best, service wise, here. Sprint has almost no service, T-Mobile has very little, and AT&T has absolutely no service in at least a 50 mile radius. U.S. Cellular is the only provider that has 3G in our area as well. They were slow to roll out 3G, but it is solid and available in many many places.

    My choice:
    1. U.S. Cellular
    2. Verizon
    3-4. Sprint or T-Mobile
    5. AT&T

  • Paul Bennett

    Virgin mobile pre paid because i can’t afford a nasty expensive bill.

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  • http://wp3.lockergnome.com/nocturnalslacker/ V. T. Eric Layton

    I don’t use a cellphone. I know. I’m one of only 6 people in the Southeastern U.S. who doesn’t use one.

    Why not? It would be an unnecessary expense in my life at this time.

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  • Buffet

    Cricket. For 45.00 a month I get unlimited everything.

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  • Declan

    I use 02 as they give me free DVDs! YAY! I used to use Vodaphone and they gave you free credit when you top-up

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  • Jason Stringer

    I use Sprint.. Coverage is very good for the most part, I like their choice of phones and their rate plans are very competitive. Also their customer support, when needed, is excellent.

  • SpiffSlalom

    Virgin Mobile. It’s the only one that makes anywhere near financial sense for me. VM only requires me to spend $20/quarter for airtime, & I barely use that much (for example, I’m due for a top-up now & still have a $28 balance). Coverage is adequate & Customer Service is excellent.

    What prompted me to switch years ago from Cellular One (which was bought out by Verizon, if memory serves) besides the monthly fee, was that approximately 20% of each monthly bill was TAXES!! Well, taxes they called taxes and “mandatory fees”… any mandatory fee is a tax – after all, what is a tax but a mandatory fee? 20% just chapped my a$$. The money I spend on airtime may well include those same taxes, but they’re invisible now, so less chappage.

    I also have an international cell phone from Mobal Communications, purchased ($99) when my daughter went to France for her Study Abroad semester. It has a phone number in the U.K. No monthly bills, but expensive per-minute charges, so you only pay for exactly what you use. Good in over 100 countries (uses T-Mobile network in USA). I have occasional business and pleasure trips to Canada, where my everyday cell phone doesn’t work, and hope to travel more extensively in the future, so we’ve hung on to it. For day-to-day use while in France, my daughter bought another Virgin Mobile phone there, which we sold on eBay after her return.

  • D

    Used to use Virgin Mobile/Sprint for several years because of the pre-paid function. Due to the overly excessive cost of their service (20 cents a minute or $50 unlimited use)…my roommate added me to his T-Mobile account for $12.50 a month & an old phone he had sitting around. Instead of being charged by looking at the phone…I can actually use it for job hunting & getting calls as a substitute teacher.

  • http://wp3.lockergnome.com/shadowmyth/ ShadowMyth

    T-mobile. I get service everywhere, and they are decent working with you on late bills. I have had them for a few years now, never any problems really. Prices aren’t bottom of the barrel, but not the highest either. Have two cells, and they cost about $120 a month for unlimited minutes, and 300 text messages, and that includes taxes and fees. T-mobile coverage is best in my opinion, as they have a deal with other companies to use their towers, and I have only come across one tiny spot in the U.S. I couldn’t get service. Even when in the middle of nowhere, I get service…except of course up in the high mountains where no one gets service.

  • Rich

    I use Sprint because I get a 23% discount. It helps.

  • http://wp3.lockergnome.com/nexus/blade/ Ron Schenone

    Thanks everyone for the information. It is appreciated.
    Regards, Ron

  • M. Free

    Well, I’ve had a cell phone since 1984 and I had a mobile (non-cell) phone in 1975. I’ve been on AT&T (and their previous brand names) forever. My family is all on AT&T as well, so there are a couple of iPhones along with Blackberry in use. non of us has ever had any real issues with AT&T. My wife and i do not use our phones much anyway, so we have a very low minimum use family plan that is no longert available, but we are “grandfathered”. We’ve traveled somewhat, to places like China and Australia and whether we used local company simchips or our AT&T simchips, we’ve had very good experience on our 7 year old Nokia phones. I’m surprised that there were not many AT&T positive comments.

    • http://wp3.lockergnome.com/nexus/blade/ Ron Schenone

      Hello M. Free,
      I’m on AT&T as well and have been for the past 6 years.
      I have traveled to both coasts and everything in between with out any issues as well.

  • Buffet

    This “Virgin” mobile sounds like it bears looking into. After it’s first use, does it become “Tramp” mobile?

    • http://wp3.lockergnome.com/nexus/blade/ Ron Schenone

      Hello Buffet,
      I always found the name ‘Virgin’ an odd choice, even for an airline.

  • donald Nagy

    Been with AT&T using cell phones since 1989.
    Back then there was a good deal – I couldn’t pass up when they
    were trying to get started. I do have a good package. They always say to update – but not this one.

    AT&T works good. I do have an iPhone and the new iPad.

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  • willie Plowman

    My phone will not dial out right now!!!!