Cell Phone Plan Ratings: Top Rated Cell Phone Plans

In this report

Cell Phone Plan Rating Sources

1. J.D. Power & Associates Wireless Network Problem Incidence Increases as Texting and Web Use Grows, J.D. Power & Associates, March 5, 2015
Credibility:
This news release summarizes the results of the J.D. Power and Associates 2015 Wireless Network Quality Study Vol.1. The study provides a measure of overall quality of providers based on the fewest customer issues, such as dropped calls, missed calls, data connection issues and more. While issues are up slightly over 2014, one clear top performer emerges and Verizon earns top marks in all regions of the country.
2. J.D. Power & Associates Overall Satisfaction with Wireless Customer Care Service Is Lower among Customers with Device Payment Plans, J.D. Power & Associates, July 30, 2015
Credibility:
Here, the editors of J.D. Power and Associates report on their latest survey of user satisfaction with their carrier's customer care. Notable findings include lower satisfaction among those that have bought their equipment on an installment plan. Regardless, T-Mobile ranks highest among postpaid carriers when it comes to satisfaction with its customer care. AT&T finishes just a hair behind and was singled out as having the best customer care in the previous version of this J.D. Power and Associates study, issued in February 2015.
3. J.D. Power & Associates Wireless Carrier Sales Reps Play Key Role Delivering a Satisfying Purchase Experience to Tablet and Smartphone Shoppers, J.D. Power & Associates, Feb. 19, 2015
Credibility:
In the 2015 J.D. Power and Associates' Wireless Purchase Experience Study of full-service wireless carriers, more than 10,000 respondents rated their customer purchase experiences in three contact channels -- phone calls with a sales rep, visits to a retail store and online. AT&T performs well in in most aspects of the purchase experience, especially when contact is either in store or on the phone.
4. ConsumerReports.org U.S. Cell Phone Service Ratings, ConsumerReports.org, September 2014
Credibility:
For this article, ConsumerReports.org asks more than 63,000 magazine subscribers to rate their cell phone plans for service (voice, texting and data), customer support and value. Editors rate eight carriers from best to worst based on the results. Editors also provide separate ratings for 26 metro areas and an additional ratings chart for Canadian cell phone plans.
5. PCMag.com Readers' Choice Awards 2015: Smartphones and Mobile Carriers, PCMag.com, March 19, 2015
Credibility:
In this reader survey of cell phone users, which includes both prepaid and postpaid services, Consumer Cellular, an MVNO that uses the AT&T network, is the top rated postpaid (i.e. traditional) carrier. It rates highly for both pricing and customer service. It also receives high satisfaction scores for call quality and data performance -- ratings that are hard for the editors to explain as it uses the same network as AT&T, which scores notably lower on those criteria.
6. PCMag.com Fastest Mobile Networks 2015, PCMag.com, June 22, 2015
Credibility:
PCMag.com staffers evaluate 4G LTE network speeds for the four national carriers: AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint. With a focus on better evaluating coverage, over 131,000 test cycles are run in 30 major cities and over "thousands of miles of driving". Though things are more competitive than ever, Verizon is named the fastest network, testing out on top in about half of the urban and rural areas surveyed.
7. RootMetrics First Half 2015 Mobile Network Performance in the US , RootMetrics, Aug. 18, 2015
Credibility:
In this report, RootMetrics looks at mobile network performance in the 125 most populated metropolitan areas, all 50 states, and across the country, performing 6.1 million tests outdoors, while driving, and in indoor locations. Results from other RootMetrics surveys are also factored in, looking at reception in places such as airports, college campuses, sports stadiums, subway and train lines and more. Data performance, call performance, text performance, speed and reliability are benchmarked. Verizon and AT&T are the top performers. Sprint trails but has closed the gap. T-Mobile's terrific performance in metropolitan areas is offset by its poor coverage in the spaces in between.
8. Money Magazine The Best Cellphone Plans of 2015, Money Magazine, June 15, 2015
Credibility:
Money surveys both prepaid and postpaid plans to recommend what it feels are the best deals for different types of users. Comparisons are made based on either an iPhone 6 or a Samsung Galaxy S6 and the cost of two years of service. The top choices earn that distinction on price and features as well as user ratings for service and satisfaction.
9. OpenSignal Compare Coverage, OpenSignal, As of August 2015
Credibility:
OpenSignal provides crowd sourced coverage maps for all major providers. Data is provided by feedback from Android and iOS (iPhone) apps users have downloaded and installed on their devices. Working with the map will let you zero in on a geographical area of interest and see comparative network performance, from best to worst.
10. Sensorly Unbiased Wireless Network Information. From people just like you, Sensorly, As of August 2015
Credibility:
Sensorly is another crowd sourced mobile coverage mapper, getting its data from apps downloaded by users. In addition to the site, the Sensorly apps let you access coverage maps on your mobile device, conduct speed tests, compare carriers and share your findings with others.
11. TomsGuide.com Best Cellphone Plans 2015, TomsGuide.com, Aug. 10, 2015
Credibility:
Tom's guide looks at the four major postpaid carriers (and five prepaid carriers as well) to find the best plans for individuals and families. Plan costs and value as well as network coverage and performance are considered. To evaluate performance, the site relies on its own test results in six cities along with feedback from nationwide testers such as RootMetrics.
12. HowardForums.com HOFO Blog, HowardForums.com, As of August 2015
Credibility:
HowardForums.com is a news and discussion site dedicated to all things mobile. While there's lots of hardware discussion, this is one of the most active user communities on the Internet for discussions of postpaid and prepaid cellular carriers.
13. TopTenReviews.com 2014 Best Cell Phone Provider Comparisons and Reviews, TopTenReviews.com
Credibility:
This website, a sister site of Tom's Guide (above), doesn't test phone services or conduct owner surveys; rather, ratings are based on coverage, available plans, the selection of available devices and the quality of its customer support. While this feedback is helpful, it can become dated quickly as plan offerings shift quickly. Still, it's worth checking this site out to see its take on more consistent factors, such as coverage and customer service.
14. Viewpoints.com The Best Cell Phone Providers: Cell Phone Provider Reviews & Ratings, Viewpoints.com, As of August 2015
Credibility:
Viewpoints.com accumulates user reviews for the most popular wireless carriers, both prepaid and postpaid. Verizon Wireless gets the best ratings of any postpaid provider, with a rating of 3.7 stars after nearly 1,200 reviews. Feedback includes recent comments as well as those that are several years old.