Ideally, network coverage and carrier prices would be the most significant factors in the decision making process, especially since popular smartphones like iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S3 are available across multiple providers. So when it comes down to it, rating the quality of nationwide coverage is just plain difficult. The good part is that in this guide we’ll tell you everything you need to know about each major USB carrier, and some regional ones as well. After gaining control of Alltel back in January of 2009, Verizon Wireless became the biggest wireless carrier in the United States.
Verizon Wireless offers new subscribers the opportunity to select a shared data plan, which charges a device access fee and offers unlimited talk, text, and hot-spot connectivity along with your data tier. Of the major carriers, Verizon Wireless has received several awards from J.D Power and Associates for the best network, and more recently for customer service. Verizon Wireless includes a wide selection of the most popular smartphones including iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S3. Its Friends & Family plan offers unlimited calling to a select group of number, even landlines.
As of 2012, AT&T is considered the second largest cell phone carrier in the United States right after Verizon Wireless. For those lucky enough to be grandfathered in, AT&T offered rollover plans that let you roll unused minutes over to the following month.
It offers a 4G LTE network  that may trail Verizon in terms of overall coverage, but it does offer fast 4G speeds.
AT&T has some of the most popular smartphones available on the market as soon as they’re released.
AT&T offers a varied selection of smartphones with all the major operating systems and is a major Windows phone supporter. Its major plus for customers is its wide selection and availability of the trendiest smartphones and tablets. Sprint and Nextel merged in 2005 to become the third largest wireless carrier and the second largest CDMA carrier in the United States. This carrier is the third of the major networks to launch 4G LTE, behind Verizon and AT&T.
Sprint now includes most of the major smartphones, including Android smartphones, the iPhone and Blackberry. Customers claim that Sprint is the most affordable of the major cell phone carriers with great 4G service. The carrier has a Wi-Fi calling app that lets you make phone calls when the network connection is weaker. T-Mobile has extensive international roaming and thousands of Wi-Fi hot spots in the US and Europe. Of the top 5 major carriers, T-Mobile has received the highest customer service rating by J.D Power and Associates. Customers mostly support T-Mobile’s customer service and flexible network plans, while its detractors focus mainly on the unusual amount of dropped calls.
MetroPCS is the 5th largest network carrier in America with coverage in Georgia, Florida, Texas, Michigan, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and California.
MetroPCS doesn’t require contracts and doesn’t offer service rebates and its cell phones are more expensive than with other carriers.
MetroPCS isn’t nationwide, but it has various roaming agreements with several partners for nationwide service. MetroPCS customers complain most about its lack of coverage while its supporters rave about its low prices and excellent customer service. A family plan (although the name may change from carrier to carrier) is a plan that allows you to share a pool of minutes, and sometimes text messages and data, with multiple lines on your account (usually no more than five). Note: Before you switch carriers, Techlicious recommends you do your research to find out which has the best cell reception in your area. Bumping your data allotment up to at least 1GB per month gets incredibly expensive, at least on Verizon. If you’re willing to venture beyond the more familiar names, you can find an even better deal. Feature phones are quickly disappearing from the marketplace, with some carriers discontinuing them entirely.
Of the carriers we surveyed, MetroPCS has the absolute cheapest 4-line plan that includes feature phones.
If you want a major carrier, AT&T has a 4-line plan for $130 that offers a 2GB shared data pool for the smartphones. Of the major carriers, T-Mobile offers the most compelling deals for families: Four smartphones, each with 1GB of high-speed data, can be had for just $100 per month. If you need to use your phone as a hotspot, AT&T's newest family deal offers a 10GB pool of data shared amongst 4 smartphones for $160 per month.
I’m paying $35 a month for 300 minutes, unlimited text and data - using a 2 year old HTC EVO 3D.
And while they don’t subsidize your phone purchase, that is *more* than made up for by the fact that you can buy any random Sprint-branded phone off ebay or whatever, and convert that phone to a Ting phone in just a few minutes.
You can go over 5GB, but you will be throttled down after 5GB if you exceed it too many times. T-mobile family plan everyone should go for, they offer great coverage and also cheaper since you bring more family member to the plan, your friends can participate to your plan as family.
I am a UK resident and found that the cost of cell phone plan in the US is very expensive compared with prices in the UK.
THE DOWNFALL IS THAT IF YOU LIVE IN THE MIDDLE OF NO WHERE, YOU COULD EXPECT FOR NO DATA POSSIBLE SERVICE IN SOME PLACES. MINE STARTED GREAT, HAD FULL USE OF SERVICE ALL OF THE SUDDEN, WHEN I GO TO CHURCH OR MY SISTER’S HOUSE WHICH IS IN THE SAME VICINITY, I HAVE NO SERVICE, CUSTOMER SERVICE PUT IN A TICKET SEVERAL TIMES, BUT LYCAMOBILE IN THAT ASPECT SUCKS. AND BY THE TIME REPUBLIC WIRELESS REPS GETS BACK TO YOU, YOU’RE FRUSTRATED, IMAGINE IN AN EMERGENCY. WHAT COMPANY OFFERS SERVICE THAT’S AT LEAST $30 OR LESS A MONTH INCLUDING TAXES AND FEES. EZMallClub has been a worldwide business leader in selling blue-ribbon consumer goods since 2006.


I always connect to WiFi network if available, especially if you are at home, that will keep my smartphone data usage down. When the iPhone 4S hits the streets next Friday, it will do so with a feature no previous model has possessed on launch day: competition. That means those looking to snap up the latest version of the iPhone have a choice unavailable to any that have gone before them.
As was already the case, AT&T and Verizon are neck-and-neck on their introductory plan for individuals, starting at $40 a month for 450 minutes and ratcheting up to $70 a month for unlimited calling.
Therea€™s more disparity between all three companies when it comes to the family voice plans.
Because Sprinta€™s texting plan falls within its broader, required data plan, ita€™s not easy to say who wins the side-by-side matchup. AT&T and Verizon offer cheaper voice plans than Sprint, but they make their money back on the data side. But as wea€™ve told you before, therea€™s no experience like real-world experience: You might want to ask your neighbors which carrier theya€™re using, and what kind of service they get. Each carrier has advantagesa€”both tangible and less soa€”that we havena€™t quantified here.
Because the charges, coverage, and other qualities of each carrier varies, the iPhone operator you choose might be different from your chattier coworker who lives 10 miles away and has a larger familya€”and youa€™d both be right. But for comparisona€™s sake, leta€™s assume youa€™re an individual, moderate iPhone user who talks 450 minutes a month, uses somewhere up to 2GB of data, and sends at least 100 text messagesa€”around three a daya€”every month. Then again, maybe you talk more, text less, or have more phones floating around your household.
Should the decision come down to network coverage, or should it be based on their selection of smartphones?
We can test in our Miami Beach and New York locations, but we can’t test all across the United States.
Also, we’d like to continue to ask for your help in rating the carriers and sending your feedback.
They offer a wide range of services with standard monthly plan that may or may not require a contract. Verizon was one of the first carriers to offer a 3G network, a music store, and GPs services. The carrier is expected to reintroduce Windows Phone with OS 8 in time for the 2012 holiday season.
Its supporters love their customer service and excellent coverage the most, while its detractors complain that it’s far overpriced and limited.
Back in the spring of 2011, AT&T unsuccessfully tried to acquire T-Mobile, which if it succeeded, would have pushed the carrier far above Verizon. It was the first carrier to offer the famous Motorola Razr V3 and spend two years as the exclusive provider of the Apple iPhone. Its detractors note that its customer service is terrible and its billing system is a major headache. It operates one of the smaller US networks of the top 4 carriers, but it has roaming agreements with AT&T and some other smaller operators.
Its smartphone lineup now includes Android, Blackberry, and Windows Phone devices, but no iPhone.
In 2009, it introduced Even More Plus plans that don’t require a contract, but don’t offer subsidies for phones. Its upgraded HSPA+ network offers 4G-like speeds, though it is not technically a 4G technology.
Metro uses CDMA technology and offers unlimited minutes as a feature of all its calling plans. You can look forward to posts about my life, my job at USB Memory Direct and all the other random things I find interesting.
It is a cost-effective way to give your whole family cell phones, and you can scale your plan to the average usage of your family. They also include unlimited talk time at night, which starts at 9pm local time and ends at 6am local time, and weekends.
Without any additional lines or features, this plan starts at $59.99, and caps the number of lines at 3.
In terms of sharing service, AT&T offers a feature that allows all lines on the family plan to have unlimited text messaging for $30 a month extra. Zact Mobile offers highly customizable, inexpensive plans if you're willing to give up unlimited calls and text. Increase each phone’s high-speed data allotment to 3GB, and the price climbs to just $140.
Prices provided by carrier, with exception of T-Mobile and Sprint, whose most recent prices were pulled from their website February 21, 2014. I intend to spend a 6 months in Florida and I am searching for a cheap plan which will not tie me down on a long-term contract but at the same time will allow me to make calls and to connect the cell phone to my laptop so that I can access the internet. Their phones were cheap, and included unlimited talk & text and 1GB of data in the first month. To help you make the savviest decision possible, herea€™s our breakdown of the carriersa€™ voice, data, and messaging plans. Those Sprint Everything plans that are mandatory with the iPhone purchase include unlimited texting as part of a $10-per-month fee for unlimited data.
If your texting falls closer to the a€?unlimiteda€? side of the spectrum, however, Sprint might win on points, but Verizon has more options for moderate texters. Again, Sprint charges $10 a month for unlimited dataa€”thata€™s the same fee that covers the texting. The advantage here depends on where you live and how you use your iPhonea€”and if you, for example, live in the suburbs but work in the city, it can get even more complicated. And you might check out services like the RootMetrics app, which crowdsources the process of testing neighborhood wireless coverage to create maps of which carriers perform best, and where.
For example, AT&T offers rollover minutes and free access to its nationwide network of Wi-Fi hotspots. Sprint, despite the initial sticker shock of its voice plan, would actually be the cheapest option here at $80 a month.


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Compare minutes, data, messages and all phone pricing options in the one place.We have the best tablet plan in wireless! It’s a pretty big country, and to accurately rate the best network, you’d have to make calls in hundreds of locations across America. AT&T offers a widespread network and a large and varied selection of mobile phones  and smartphones.
Back in the summer of 2011, T-Mobile announced its HSPA+42 “4G” network, but a potential buyout by its only national GSM competitor, AT&T, set T-Mobile back in maintaining its network and competing with other US carriers.
A prepaid carrier, it doesn’t require a contract from any customer and it doesn’t place restrictions on the time of day when you call.
People who are on your account sharing your minutes don’t have to be family members, either -- sometimes, college roommates will go in on the same family plan to lower their bills, or small business owners will use them to give their employees a “business-use" cell phone at a lower rate than they would pay for individual lines. If you want the unlimited nights to start earlier for your family plan, AT&T offers a feature that starts nighttime unlimited calling during the week at 7pm and lets it run through to 7am. Boost Mobile, meanwhile, offers a plan with 2.5GB of data that starts at $55 monthly and drops as low as $40 after making 18 on-time payments.
It’s the best family smartphone deal out there, and that's before you consider the company's offer to buy you out of your current contract. We’re one of the only ones Verizon allows to sell unlimted everything still along with Sprint. But be warned: These plans are constructed differently at each company, so it is sometimes difficult to make an apples-to-apples comparison. Those plans start at $70 a month for 450 minutesa€”the same as the unlimited minutes price on the other two carriersa€”and tops out at $100 a month for unlimited minutes.
Each carrier requires two lines for the family plan, in most cases with a maximum of five lines. Verizon charges $20 a month for 2GB of hotspot data, which can be added on to any of its data plans, and Sprint offers a $30 option.
Verizon, on the other hand, has tended to score the highest in customer satisfaction among wireless carriers. AT&T would come in a close second at $85 a month, and Verizon would rank third at $90 a month.
Whata€™s more, you might be willing to pay more for a carrier that provides a stronger signal in your neighborhood than for one that constantly drops calls. National carriers are mostly retreating from “unlimited plans,” and are beginning to offer shared data plans for multiple devices, which typically benefits families the most. Verizon Wireless announced its 4G LTE network back in December2010, although Verizon’s first 4G phone, the HTC Thunderbolt, didn’t come onto the scene until March 2011. Originally formed in 2001 as Cingular Wireless, it changed its name to AT&T back in 2007 to reflect its parent company. However, any basic services on the other carriers like voicemail and caller ID can cost extra, and the data network isn’t as fast as national providers.
Congratulations, you just saved 40 bucks, because your rate per month is based automatically on how much you actually used that month. I don’t think I will ever get any lower than Republic Wireless and with everything I need, at price points, everyone can afford. They use the Sprint network, so if you’re thinking of switchin from Sprint, Ting is totally the way to go. But dona€™t count the company out just yet: Sprint has advantages in other categories, as wea€™ll see below. In addition, Verizon offers a $5 plan for 250 messages, and a $10 plan for up to 500 messages. However, if you regularly use more data, but arena€™t quite ready to shell out for the Unlimited options, Verizon offers additional tiers at 5GB ($50 per month) and 10GB ($80 per month). Sprint, as the newcomer, has the most to prove on the iPhone fronta€”but that unlimited data plan may give it a leg up in the market. Now that competition has arrived, iPhone users are going to have to do a little more homework. Initially joint venture between Verizon Communications and Vodafone, Verizon Wireless was formed back in 2000 through a merger between GTW Wireless and Bell Atlantic.
Both the 1,400 minute plan and the 2,100 minute plan offer an additional feature not available on the 700 minute plan -- A-List, which allows you to select up to 10 phone numbers on any network, which are then not charged minutes against your rate plan.
There are many other features that AT&T offers its customers to customize their experience, but they are on a per-line basis1. We also asked them to price out a separate set of plans to make sure all smartphones get at least 1GB per month of data. T-Mobile is now the least expensive major carrier, with a $40 for 500MB of data deal currently in play.
They have Wifi only plans (great for kids) $5 a month, unlimited cell and text for $10 a month, unlimited cell, text, and 3g date for $25 a month and then unlimited 4g with everything for $40 a month. At the end of each month, the usage from all devices on the account is totaled and placed in “buckets” based on usage of talk, text, and data (independently).
I have 2 Freedompop phones with free service as backup (One always in my truck) in the event that I leave my phone at home. FreedomPop offers free cell phone service, though naturally, there are a few catches involved.
The best part about it all, you can make calls over a WiFi network when cell signal isn’t the best at your house, like mine.
Sprint's least expensive plan will run you $55, but that comes with a larger, 1GB data allotment. This includes the republic refund for unused data, and my $1.75 monthly credit because I was a beta tester in their first year. Ting also offers phenomenal customer service, which is largely unheard of in the wireless industry.



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