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Cell phone carrier reviews? ATT, Sprint, and T-Mobile?

980 Views 12 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  JulieNC
I have Cellular South right now. $29.99 for 300 anytime minutes, NO roaming, NO long distance, to anywhere, from anywhere in US. Free weekends.
I have had no problems over the past two years, save the lack of reception at my house where we are near the national forest.
I need a new phone and am hoping for better reception since the other carriers have more updated towers than my TDMA, as I so barely understand it.
From what I understand- ATT's GSM service is only good for metro areas, Sprint only has one tower now and one coming in July (but I've heard that before) and I have no idea about T Mobile. Wal Mart lady with the cell phones said that TMobile has better reception here locally.
ANY IDEAS OR INPUTS??? I am thinking of trying Tmobile or Sprint. Tmobile has the same package as I have now. Sprint has it for $10 more a month. T mobile will upgrade my phone if I stick with them for a year. They also offer 3 phones for free Nokie 3588i, Samsung, and Motorola. Sprint offers a Nokia 4595. I need something that will have good reception in low signal areas. Anyone familiar with these?
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Short of poor reception, it appears that you have a decent provider already. AT&T has a no hassel 30 day trial off their internet offering. I have found that here in NC with AT&T I get good signal other than the few isolated counties in the eastern part of the state where the population is too small to justify towers. Just get a service to where you have an "out" if the service isn't suitable. Some places have a loaner phone for trying and you only pay for the service used if you return the phone during the evaluation time frame.
We have a Tracphone and don't like it at all. Stay away from them.
I work for a wireless provider so I can give some tips. I would find the carrier that has the coverage that you need. I hear " I need a nation wide plan for my trip to california every year. They pay $150 more a year for a nation wide plan they are going to use once instead of $50 roaming when they do go on a yearly trip. Ask for a network map not a calling area map. This will show in signal strength where they cover and where they do not. Now realize that all phones cost the providers about $140 and up they discount them to get you on to service with little outlay so when you see free just realize they do cost something. If you have a CDMA carrier like Verizon, alltel, us cellular or sprint they are the best network out there. Stay away from GSM orTDMA it is old and being replaced. The LG or Kyocera is the best equipment you can buy. My favorite and I can have anything I want is the LG VX4400. It is priced good but not free.
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att , cingular , t-mobile and maybe more can use each others towers. when sharing towers, voice counts against your minutes all the time even if you have free nights and weekends. sprint and verizon have incompatible towers. atts billing is weird to say the least, not wrong , just weird. ask people you know who have phones, maybe go with who you call the most, since if you both have the same carrier, usually you can talk free anytime.
If you have a "Best Buy" or "Circuit City" in your area check with them. I got Sprint PCS for $29.99 a month, free roaming, free night time calls, voice mail, call waiting, 3 way calling, etc and 300 mins.
Of course with all taxes and sir charges they tack on it comes to about $35 a month. BTW, this deal is without a yearly contract, it's a month to month, cancel whenever. The phone was I believe $99. with a rebate $40 from "Circuit City".

For additional charges you can get on line with the phone as well, never tried that, but I'm sure it's an arm and a leg.
AT&T is a rip-off. When you sign a contract there is a clause in there that they won't issue refunds or credits back to you in cash unless it exceeds $10.00. When you close your account, they overcharge you for your last month for just under $10, and when you call to have them cut a check for the remaining credit, they won't, citing their policy of not refunding amounts under $10.

I'm not usually a conspiracy theorist, but I'm 100% convinced they do this to lots of customers. It's kinda like a hidden contractual cancellation fee.
Read these glowing remarks from other customers:,2941,103122-100-0-0-20-60-fb_date-desc,00.html

You can search on all the different wireless companies (and anything else, for that matter).
Verizon has the best coverage. This is from personal experience and from a article in "Consumer Reports" magazine last year. The Consumer Reports test was a nationwide test, my experience deals with the Great Lakes region only. The key (at least here in MI, but i assume everywhere else) is the "tri-mode" service enabling you to use newer digital towers (CDMA) when available but reverting to older analog towers when in remote areas.
I really think that your service area determines the best company to go with regarding reception. I've had Sprint for the past three years and I love them. In my area it gives the best reception and it is not the most popular. My plan is 2000 anytime minutes w/ an additional line. My teenage son uses his as a primary phone. We have free long distance, free roaming, free weekends and nights after 7 as well as free Sprint to Sprint calls- we have some web minutes too but I don't let my son fool with that. The plan is hefty- $95/ month but it is a good deal for two phones, especially after going over on minutes often on other plans- it probably saves us money. Sprint, however, can give absolutely lousy customer service when ordering.
I have a prepaid Verizon phone... my husband has sprint... i had sprint in the past... Sprint locks you in for a year at a time.. and if you have to make any changes to your contract, that wipes out your previous months you have all ready been with them and starts a new contract... if you break the contract before the end of a year, they charge you an enormous fee.

i love my verizon acct.. i prepay my minutes, i buy about $15 to $30 every six weeks... i can talk to any one else with a verizon acct for free.. i have really found this is the way to go.. i also conciously do not use the phone because of the minutes... I have kyocera phone ... it was free ... and its a nice simple phone... start up was $149 thru radio shack, and that included $15 dollars worth of minutes on the phone and the option of a $30 cash rebate or a $50 worth of minutes sent back to me from verizon. I took the minutes... I have had the phone since last september and have spent approx $100 on minutes not counting the $50 that verizon sent me.

Lynn in Texas
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I've used Nextel for the better part of 4 years now. I love their service. I have 3 low signal spots near the curve on the way home, at my brother's house and at his office. Everywhere else I have good signal, including in elevators.

They just called us and lowered the billl $30/mo/line if we re upped for a year.

so I'm very happy

-- Tim
If you have friends with different carriers, invite them out to your place for a test run on signal strength.

While it's nice for those in better covered areas to be able to compare carriers' plans, we've found that there is only one carrier that we can use and get reception near our home. For us, that was the end of the comparison. I have no idea whether Alltel's plans are better, worse or competitive, but they're the only one that has widespread coverage in our rural area. Period.

Perhaps you'll be luckier.
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