Cell phone companies



  • My contract with AT&T/Cingular/whatever the marketers think up today has finally expired, and I'm quite ready to switch providers. That said, I want to do a bit of research before I lock myself into another contract.

    Please, share your experiences (positive, negative, or just plain WTF) about any US cell companies you have used/are using.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    Serious question - is 'get rid of your mobile' an option here?



  • I've been pretty happy with T-Mobile, though most say it's crap.  I haven't had a dropped call in a while, and I get a corporate discount.  I prefer GSM networks because of the SIM card.  I used to be with Sprint, and it's seriously bottom of the barrel.  Absolute trash.

    I have a friend who just switched away from Verizon at a time when most people are switching /to/ Verizon.  He was happy with the service, but not with the plans they were offering him for resigning.

    Thanks for listening!



  • Think it largely depends where you call home. In my neck of the woods (northeast), I've used Verizon for around 10 years now, and the coverage has been consistently excellent. When I was at college (Penn State), Sprint was the way to go and Verizon coverage sucked.

    Customer service-wise, I'm a pretty low maintenance customer, so beyond a couple billing wtf's, my experience has been pretty good overall. Alltel has been running ads heavily in this region and I don't see a compelling reason to switch. I have Verizon for phone, Comcast for cable/internet, and they've both pretty much lived up to their reputation as indigenous megacorps - almost everyone uses them, their service is fine, and I've had few problems.

    I hear basically the same thing about AT&T, though, so maybe you wouldn't mind sharing what your reasons for switching carriers are and what you're looking for / looking to avoid?



  • Verizon has fantastic coverage and data speeds (the best network, bar none) but terrible phones.  Since they are CDMA you can't bring your own phone to them and all of their phones run the shitty Verizon firmware that strips out useful features and makes the UI slow as ass.  If you are in a metro area, T-mobile is pretty good in terms of service and is great when it comes to phone selections and allowing unlocked GSM phones on their network.  T-mobile's coverage outside of metro areas tends to blow, though, and I've heard the data rates are nothing to Twitter home about. 



  • @sootzoo said:

    Alltel has been running ads heavily in this region and I don't see a compelling reason to switch.

    Alltel is now owned by VZW.

     

    @sootzoo said:

    I have Verizon for phone, Comcast for cable/internet, and they've both pretty much lived up to their reputation as indigenous megacorps - almost everyone uses them, their service is fine, and I've had few problems.

    I use VZW and Comcast.  Comcast has been fantastic and I'm very pleased with VZW's network, I just wish I could get a decent phone.

     

    @sootzoo said:

    I hear basically the same thing about AT&T, though, so maybe you wouldn't mind sharing what your reasons for switching carriers are and what you're looking for / looking to avoid?

    I've heard more negative things about AT&T, generally from people who were on VZW or T-mobile and switched to get the iPhone.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @sootzoo said:

    Alltel has been running ads heavily in this region and I don't see a compelling reason to switch.

    Alltel is now owned by VZW.

     

    @sootzoo said:

    I have Verizon for phone, Comcast for cable/internet, and they've both pretty much lived up to their reputation as indigenous megacorps - almost everyone uses them, their service is fine, and I've had few problems.

    I use VZW and Comcast.  Comcast has been fantastic and I'm very pleased with VZW's network, I just wish I could get a decent phone.

     

    @sootzoo said:

    I hear basically the same thing about AT&T, though, so maybe you wouldn't mind sharing what your reasons for switching carriers are and what you're looking for / looking to avoid?

    I've heard more negative things about AT&T, generally from people who were on VZW or T-mobile and switched to get the iPhone.

     

     I have had so many AT&T customer service WTFs.  However, I won't switch because I come from the midwest where AT&T has been king for years.  All my friends and family have AT&T so I get free calling to everyone I care to call. If you care aboutthe service reps knowing anything AT&T is not the best bet.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

     I'm in the contract renewal period for Verizon right now - right now it's about 70% re-sign with Verizon onto an updated version of my plan (and move to a smartphone), 25% switch to T-Mobile, 5% stay on Verizon month-to-month with my beatass shitphone until it gives up the ghost.

     T-Mobile has some somewhat unfortunate limitations on voice calling (no free in-network - not that anyone's on the network to begin with), and has fewer minutes per dollar, but has the only sane data plans to be had.

    Verizon, on the other hand... I can't say anything bad about them other than be careful which phone you pick up - make sure it's hackable, because Verizon's firmware blows goats. I still run the Verizon firmware on my shitphone, but I had to edit a few parameters to make the damned thing tolerable. There are also vague, most likely unfounded rumors that when AT&T's current contract with Apple is up this summer, Verizon is in line for a CDMA iPhone. Not that I care - it's just something I use to steer people away from falling into the AT&T clusterfuck.

     

    Coverage - I have been without Verizon signal for only a few hours throughout my entire 2-year contract. The only holes I've found were in the really scary parts of West Virginia, and about 500 feet of CA Route 2 in the Angeles mountains. Indoors, signal is very good. I get signal in a basement beneath a floor with an embedded steel plate.

    My only T-Mobile experience is in Southern California, and the general experience was "Cities, yes. Freeways, yes. Anywhere else, forget about it"



  • @Weng said:

    Coverage - I have been without Verizon signal for only a few hours throughout my entire 2-year contract.  ...  Indoors, signal is very good. I get signal in a basement beneath a floor with an embedded steel plate.

    I concur.  I can usually get decent EVDO or at least 1x on the subway.


    @Weng said:

    The only holes I've found were in the really scary parts of West Virginia...

    There are non-scary parts of WV? 

     

    @Weng said:

    My only T-Mobile experience is in Southern California, and the general experience was "Cities, yes. Freeways, yes. Anywhere else, forget about it"

    This is basically what I've heard as well.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    T-mobile's coverage outside of metro areas tends to blow, though, and I've heard the data rates are nothing to Twitter home about. 
    Confirmed.  Also, if you're underground, like in your basement, good luck getting a signal.  A guy I used to work for got a Blackberry Pearl on the T-Mobile network (for testing our product) and we had to go outside on his front lawn to use it.

    Yes, I worked in his basement.  Yes, I'm five thousand different kinds of glad that place is eating my dust.



  • To clear up some questions...

    1) No, getting rid of the cell phone is not an option. I do a lot of driving and moving about, and I need to be able to make/take calls on the move.

    2) I live outside of Detroit, in an area where cell reception is often an issue. (This probably rules out T-Mobile.)

    3) Price is my main factor here (esp. on data plans), followed by speed of data network (I'd get a lot of use out of the network, see #1), followed by half-decent phone choices. I'm perfectly at home hacking/reflashing/etc. as long as it's a phone that can handle it. (I've had decent luck with Motorolas in this regard.)

    4) I'm not dissatisfied with AT&T, I just wanted to hear others' experiences, so that I can make an educated decision.



  • @Fred Foobar said:

    Price is my main factor here (esp. on data plans), followed by speed of data network (I'd get a lot of use out of the network, see #1), followed by half-decent phone choices.
     

    I'm pretty sure that makes AT&T the clear winner here (to the extent that anyone can "win" when choosing a cell provider). At least, w/ Verizon's unlimited data plan rates, I was paying >$100/mo for the privilege, whereas the same plan w/ an iPhone would've run me around $60-70/mo. Verizon has EVDO, AT&T has 3G. Etc.

    If this is really how you intend to use the phone, and my figures are still accurate, you should probably re-up your existing plan and try to get a better rate.


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