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Criteria for selecting a cell phone service

by gjale / September 21, 2004 3:13 AM PDT

I am currently an AT&T Wireless customer and my contract will be expiring soon. I am evaluating cell phone providers and I am trying to determine the order of importance for making the selection. I am looking for feedback about signal strength and customer support. Utlimately, what are the deciding factors for picking the right cell phone provider.

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Re: Criteria for selecting a cell phone service
by dave1973 / September 21, 2004 11:41 AM PDT

You will want to ask people you know who they have to get an idea how service is. Next you need to evaluate where all you travel to get an idea where that carrier serves. Look at all the plans, and phones. Also read the terms and conditions of each wireless service. Regardless which carrier you plan to go to, it's best to go through the corporate wireless store rather than the authorized agents as the authorized agents don't always have the best knowledge about the service they sell, some authorized agents may not have a large selection of phones, and in the case of a Schererville, IN authorized agent of Verizon Wireless service, this store sells a number of discontinued phones as new, sells car chargers that aren't approved by the manufacturer, and the sales person had a major attitude. You'll usually pay more at the corporate store, but at least you're dealing with someone who has the best knowledge of the wireless service.
I'll give you my criteria of what I looked for in a wireless carrier as an example:
I looked at the number of minutes I would use a month during peak period. I also looked at the coverage maps of where I travel, and for me I travel through lower Michigan, northern and sometimes central Indiana, Chicago and nearby suburbs, and in Wisconsin around Milwaukee and occasionally Madison. Based on where I travel, only Sprint and Verizon Wireless met my needs, but I chose Verizon Wireless for the Americas Choice plan after noticing Verizon Wireless's coverage map was larger than Sprint, for both Verizon's network and select roaming areas that they call extended coverage. Verizon Wireless has done great for me for the last 2 1/2 years and plan to keep Verizon Wireless as long as I live in their service area.
Before I forget, you'll want to look at what kind of phone you want. If you can't afford a top of the line phone, a budget phone from Nokia or Kyocera will give you the performance call quality and signal strength wise. Both phones handle most weak signals rather well. I find that to be the case with my Samsung SCH-a650, which I upgraded from a Motorola 120c, which dropped too many calls and couldn't handle a call with less than 3 bars.

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Re: Criteria for selecting a cell phone service
by strykernyc / September 21, 2004 6:31 PM PDT

just want to add that u can try sprintpcs for 2 months without contract just to test them out. i hate to post comp names cause is just making more money for them heh

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Re: Criteria for selecting a cell phone service
by dave1973 / September 22, 2004 4:41 AM PDT

Probably another option would be if unsure about a certain wireless service is to try prepaid before deciding to enter a contract. But with prepaid, you must be on that wireless's network to avoid roaming charges, which on most services, will each away your minutes, like what happened to my brother when he had prepaid AT&T service (TDMA). He got AT&T when he lived in Gary Indiana, but moved to Knox Indiana, and entered roaming. Even after AT&T changed to GSM, Knox Indiana is still roaming and before the sale, AT&T mentioned they had no intention of serving Knox Indiana because the population is too small for their bottomline. He's now with Verizon Wireless and has a contract with them. At least Verizon Wireless is willing to serve rural areas, and I believe that area was served by the old GTE Mobile before it became Verizon Wireless.

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