Consumer Reports Ranks Cell Phone Carriers

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – If you’re shocked by your cell phone bill, you’re not alone.

According to Consumer Reports, one in five people got an unexpectedly high bill in the past year.

Nearly 60,000 subscribers have now weighed in to help Consumer Reports determine the best services and money-savers.

Sprint’s CEO’s confidence in his company’s improvements appears to worked with customers, according to Consumer Reports’ annual cell phone survey.

“For years, Sprint has been one of lower-rated cell-phone companies in our survey. But, this year we saw a dramatic improvement,” Donato Vaccaro with Consumer Reports said.

Sprint tied with Verizon among the top carriers for cell phones with a contract. Most Sprint customers said the carrier offers a good value.

According to the survey, U.S. Cellular is better. It ranked highest for customer satisfaction.

On the flip side, AT&T was solidly in last place again in almost every category from customer support to problems making calls to value for the money.

“My iPhone bill is just, it’s over the top. There’s times I got bills for $200,” Dale Wilson said.

If you’re looking for a cell phone with no contract, a small company called Consumer Cellular came out on top.

If you prefer a greater selection of phones, Consumer Reports said to consider T-Mobile, which now offers most of its phones with a no contract option.

Consumer Reports’ survey also found that one in five people have had an unexpectedly high bill. Here are some ways to avoid that “bill shock.”

Check your use periodically. sells smart-phone apps that monitor usage and sends texts or emails to warn about overages. If the way you use your phone changes, call to change the plan.

Avoid termination fees. Consider transferring the contract to someone else for a $25 fee through or

Be sure to test the phone during the initial trial period before you commit.

  • Melody Russell

    I got fed up with the high billing from Verizon, went to Straight talk love it uses verizon towers and it owned by verizon and walmart , it is a tracfone but wow it like you re with a mojor company . unlimted everything 45 a month.

  • Fenix1186

    Went from Verizon to Sprint and definitely don’t regret it! Verizon’s prices and pricing schemes are sooooo terrible. No value there.

  • rabbit7278

    funny, i’ve had AT&T for years now, and as a family plan with their rollover minutes program, i think it’s a great value. i keep on looking at new carriers before i extend my contract, but i can’t beat AT&T’s prices for a two person family plan with rollover.
    maybe it’s different if you have an iphone, but if you have their unlimited data plan i don’t see how you can get a surprise bill.

  • Eric jackson

    I’ve been a loyal Sprint customer since the Sprint FON, Fiber Optic Network, calling cards. Well I guess I’m showing my age. They have really stepped up the demands of the consumers, but I believe the 1st major cell phone company who eliminates the early termination fees for loyal customers will make a major impact on attracting new customers. If you have a service loyal customers agreee with, you will not have to worry about them departing.

  • robert jones

    i been with sprint for a long time but I think that t mobile has a better plan 65 a month no contract you can call any phone even land line talk as long as u want text
    send pictures the only thing u loose is the interment

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  • flipcellphones

    like it,but If you can add more video and pictures can be much better i have never read such a lovely article and i am coming back tomorrow to continue reading.

  • Jen

    Me and my mother have had at&t for over 8 years now, and we havent had a problem other than the high restoral fees when we occasionally have them. Also the fact that they changed the data plans from unlimited for i think $25 to either $10 or $15 for just 2MB of data and then a $10 charge for going over, and i love my smart phones, but i dont have any clue on how to keep track of my data usage. They’d be wise to put the unlimited data plan back on for smart phones, or have a way to shut the data over if you are about to go over. Understandable that its our phones and we should keep track but if no one explains it how can they expect to keep track of it. I mean for 4 people, 2 with unlimited data, usually the bill is $190(ish). I dont consider that to bad. My boyfriend has Verizon and loses service all the time when I get it perfectly, also how is Verizon going to all of a sudden make a non smart phone a smart phone all of sudden and make it manditory for a $10 data plan, when the phone he has shouldnt be a smart phone at all, Verizon just makes no sense to me, let alone when they are a land line service which makes them even worse!

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