Cell Phone Plan Rating Sources
Total of 16 Sources
For an explanation of how we rank reviews, see our ratings criteria page.
2012 U.S. Wireless Network Quality Performance Study
by Editors of J.D. Power and Associates
Our AssessmentThis study from J.D. Power and Associates examines wireless usage in three aspects of network performance -- messaging, calling and data -- in six geographic regions within the United States. The study is based on responses from over 27,000 wireless customers. Verizon Wireless ranks highest in five of the six regions, with U.S. Cellular winning in the North Central United States.
2012 Wireless Customer Care Performance
by Editors of J.D. Power and Associates
Our AssessmentThe Customer Care Study from J.D. Power and Associates is based on responses from over 27,000 wireless phone users. Verizon Wireless convincingly comes out on top with an impressive 5 out of 5 stars. All other wireless networks mentioned receive 2 out of 5 stars.
U.S Cell Phone Service Ratings
by Editors of ConsumerReports.org
Our AssessmentFor this article, ConsumerReports.org asks more than 66,000 magazine subscribers to rate their cell phone plans for service (voice, texting and data), customer support and value. Editors rate seven major carriers (Consumer Cellular, Credo, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon Wireless) from best to worst, based on the results. They also do separate ratings for each of 23 urban areas, including New York City, Dallas, Atlanta, Chicago and Miami, and there's an additional ratings chart for Canadian cell phone plans.
Readers' Choice Awards 2012: Smartphones and Mobile Carriers
by Ben Gottesman
Our AssessmentIn this reader survey of cell phone users, U.S. Cellular knocks Verizon Wireless out of the top spot; both earn Readers' Choice Awards. Both Verizon Wireless and U.S. Cellular receive significantly better-than-average ratings in all categories, including coverage, call quality and network reliability. Once again, AT&T is at the bottom of the pack.
Verizon LTE vs. The Rest: 4G Smackdown
by Jared Newman
Our AssessmentHere, PC World rates 4G networks, using its own test data as well as some data from the networks themselves and from third-party sources. Verizon's 4G is the fastest but has data-usage caps; Sprint is slower and pricier but offers unlimited data. Jared Newman also lists pros and cons for T-Mobile, MetroPCS and Clear/Clearwire 4G.
AT&T Roars Back in PCWorld's Second 3G Wireless Performance Test
by Mark Sullivan
Our AssessmentAT&T's 3G network proves far faster than Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile in this 13-city test. AT&T had finished last in the previous year's test. Note that although AT&T is the overall winner, other networks work better in certain cities; a chart shows results for each city. PC World used both smartphones and laptops to check the download speeds, upload speeds and connection dependability, running more than 51,000 separate tests.
4G Shootout: Verizon LTE vs. Sprint WiMax
by Brian Nadel
Our AssessmentComputerworld tests two 4G networks -- Verizon and Sprint -- head to head in the New York metro area. Brian Nadel recommends Verizon -- "if you can get it." It's not widely available and costs more than Sprint 4G, but "it's the fastest way I've found to connect on the road."
4G Report Card: Who's Winning, Who's Failing
by Mark Spoonauer
Our AssessmentLaptop Magazine grades the four major wireless companies' 4G networks, based on its own tests as well as the companies' prices, 4G device offerings and plans to upgrade and expand their networks. Verizon Wireless gets an A-, followed by Sprint (B), T-Mobile (C+) and AT&T (F).
Quick Guide to Top Cell Phone Carriers
by Kent German, Jessica Dolcourt
Our AssessmentAlthough CNET doesn't rate cell phone service providers, editors have compiled a buyer's guide, which outlines the pros and cons of the four major nationwide carriers (Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile) and three regional carriers (U.S. Cellular, MetroPCS and Cricket). Links lead to thousands of user comments on the services.
2013 Best Cell Phone Provider Comparisons and Reviews
by Editors of TopTenReviews.com
Our AssessmentThis website doesn't test phone services, nor does it conduct owner surveys; rather, ratings are based on coverage, available plans and other features. This isn't the best way to rate cell phone plans, because it doesn't take customer service or satisfaction into account. Verizon takes first place; although AT&T also earns a rating of Excellent, its subscore for help and support is lower than Verizon's. Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Cricket and Virgin Mobile are also among the 10 carriers rated here.
AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon: The Plans Compared
by Joel Mathis
Our AssessmentMacworld thoroughly compares voice, text and data iPhone plans from AT&T, Sprint and Verizon for coverage and cost. Joel Mathis clearly spells out the pros and cons of each, but he doesn't pick a favorite.
Small Carrier Showdown: Switch and Save Up to $1,500
by Brian Oliver Bennett
Our AssessmentYou can save money by choosing a smaller wireless carrier instead of one of the big four, says Brian Oliver Bennett of Laptop Magazine. He doesn't pick a favorite, but he identifies the pros and cons of five smaller carriers with contract or prepaid plans -- CellularSouth, Cricket, MetroPCS, U.S. Cellular and Virgin Mobile -- and shows in a chart how they stack up against the big four in terms of plan value and available smartphones.
10 Companies We Love to Hate
by Karen Aho
Our AssessmentSprint ranks fourth on MSN.com's 2010 customer service hall of shame, with about a third of respondents rating the carrier's customer service as poor. Sprint is a four-year repeat offender, based on a nationwide survey that asked people about their experiences with 150 companies in 15 industries. No other wireless carrier makes the 10-worst list.
Verizon iPhone Gets Better Coverage, Slower Data, Wired.com Test Finds
by Brian X. Chen
Our AssessmentVerizon offers more reliable iPhone coverage in more spots, but its 3G data speeds are slower than AT&T's, this test shows. Wired ran its tests in 16 San Francisco locations.
Cell Phone Providers Reviews
by Contributors to Viewpoints.com
Our AssessmentViewpoints.com has accumulated user reviews for the most popular wireless carriers, both prepaid and contract. Verizon Wireless gets the best ratings of any contract provider, averaging 75 out of a possible 100.
Cellular Phone Service
by Contributors to Epinions.com
Our AssessmentEpinions.com has a pretty good idea -- separate ratings into major urban areas and let people rate their carriers. The trouble is that very few people are dishing out their opinions, even in New York City. (Verizon gets the highest ratings there, but only 17 people voted.) Places such as Boston, Atlanta and San Diego have the same or fewer cell phone service reviews, making them barely useful.