Excerpt from Consumer Reports latest report ranking the wireless providers.
Here’s how the five wireless carriers we rated stack up in terms of service:
We’ve listed these five major wireless carriers roughly in order of their overall performance, from left to right. A carrier’s performance should be your first consideration. But if your travels often take you to other countries or through rural parts of the U.S., the type of network that your carrier and phone use may be worth examining as well. We explain the respective differences between the two major digital networks, CDMA and GSM, in the accompanying report.
Consistently a top performer in this year’s survey and in our earlier ones. Also among the better national carriers in its responsiveness to customer questions and complaints.
Networks: CDMA and analog. But Verizon offers analog access on few of its new phones, which could mean less coverage in some rural areas.
Consistently a top performer in all three of the metro areas where we had sufficient survey data to rate it. Notably good for both connectivity and customer service, including helpfulness in responding to questions or complaints.
Networks: CDMA and analog.
A solid performer in almost all of the metro areas where we had sufficient survey data to rate it, but marred by lack of service in some places. Also ranked among the better providers in responsiveness to customer questions and complaints.
Network: GSM only. Most of its phones can be used outside of the U.S.
Middling to low levels of consumer satisfaction. Static and busy circuits were widespread problems, as they have been in our previous surveys. Relatively low marks for helpfulness in handling customer questions and complaints.
Networks: Primarily GSM, some TDMA and analog. Most GSM phones can also be used overseas.
One of the poorer performers in terms of overall satisfaction. Had more dropped calls than other carriers. Sprint merged with Nextel in 2005, and our results do not include former Nextel customers or those who receive Nextel service from Sprint, because their phones operate on a different network.
Networks: Sprint uses CDMA but can roam using analog.