Consumer Reports Cell Phone Companies

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Consumer Reports Cell Phone Companies

Consumer Reports Cell Phone Companies

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Our picks haven’t changed, but we’ve updated this guide with Verizon’s new unlimited plans, the arrival of C-band 5G at AT&T and Verizon, and the locked-in 3G plans of all the major carriers.

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If you haven’t checked how your current bill compares to what it would be under a new plan or service, you should check now. Despite the recent transition from four national operators to three, and from 3G to 4G and now 5G networks, prices have fallen as data sharing has increased, especially among many small operators who sell services from Big Three. But as always, most deals come with a catch.

There may not be one carrier or system that we can recommend for everyone, but we have suggestions for common needs and advice for those with unusual needs.

I’ve been writing about the wireless industry since the late 1990s – my first guide to cell phones, written in 1998, gave a lot of ink to comparing analog and digital cell phones. I’ve tested cell phones and cell phone plans from all the major manufacturers — historically AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon, plus Nextel before that — for the Washington Post, CNN Money, Discovery News, PCMag, VentureBeat. about and others, and now I cover technology and telecom news for Fast Company, USA Today, and other sites, including publications such as Light Reading and FierceTelecom. And in July 2021, I ran more than a thousand miles from Baltimore to Atlanta for PCMag’s Fastest Mobile Networks project.

Consumer Reports Cell Phone Companies

We’ve narrowed this guide down to the country’s most popular choices—starting with the three largest carriers and their prepaid services and partners, then adding services that top surveys from sites like PCMag, the American Customer Satisfaction Index, and J.D. Hello.

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We also decided not to include advertisers that are only available in certain parts of the US. This means ending the resale services of US cellular and cable carriers like Comcast and Spectrum, which require people to sign up for their access network in order to advertise prices or sign up. Finally, we reduced prepaid services that require the purchase of data, voice or minutes to cover our monthly usage.

For each, we have calculated the price of three mobile phone packages: minimum use and 3GB of data; Many events that require unlimited mobile data, but not more than 3 GB using a mobile hotspot; it’s a heavy duty case with unlimited data on the phone, including 10GB of mobile hotspot usage. These figures are higher than those previously published, as the use of data has increased significantly: In March 2022, NPD Group analyst Brad Akuse told us that the company’s research showed that the use of mobile phones in the US increased in the fourth quarter of 2021. 12 GB per month, average usage (due to high load) 17.2 GB.

We are no longer talking about bundled messages or minutes of voice, because all services that are eligible for bundled now offer unlimited texting and calling.

The quality of a wireless network is not something you can measure with a single letter: features and functionality vary widely from location to location. They also change over time – as anyone who used T-Mobile in 2011 and is still on the carrier today can attest. To get the most accurate picture of the three major carriers (and the services that sell their networks), we consulted independent surveys of wireless network coverage and performance from Opensignal, PCMag, and RootMetrics. We couldn’t care less about high speed downloads if access to traffic was limited; Constant efficiency in high-traffic environments, work and travel were essential.

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Our cost estimates assume that anyone who wants to use a mobile hotspot to share their LTE or 5G bandwidth at any fixed time would want to do so at full speed, rather than bumping up to 2G speeds, as “unlimited” plans require. . We have also considered that most people do not use more than 3GB per month with this, because it can drain the phone’s battery, but we have many cases that require up to 10GB per month. when using a smartphone.

We’ve also reduced the same numbers for the two-row and four-row sharing arrangements because so many of you said you wanted to see the options compared to the family prices.

If the plan offers a low interest rate so you can pay off or pay in advance for a year, or includes a loyalty discount that lowers your bill over time (a new feature in Verizon Prepaid starting summer 2020), we took that into consideration. However, we did not count contracts that required mobile sales or porting.

Consumer Reports Cell Phone Companies

Since almost every phone in the US market will work on the three major carriers, we didn’t pay attention to the phones that each carrier or service sells on its website and in its stores. We didn’t take into account the ads that wireless carriers put out for every new iPhone.

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Not including the cost of media-related businesses like T-Mobile adding a free Netflix subscription with two or more lines to an account, AT&T adding $15 HBO Max service to its $85 Elite unlimited plan, and Verizon. In addition to Apple Music or Disney +, Hulu is a bundle of ESPN + for its unlimited views.

Finally, we didn’t take into account taxes and fees because they vary by jurisdiction (for me, with the old T-Mobile plan, these fees added 7.4% to my October 2021 bill). But no matter where you live, taxes and fees should affect all of your options — except for T-Mobile’s Magenta plans and its offerings in Boost and Visible, both of which include taxes in their promotional prices.

If data is more important to you than coverage in non-metropolitan areas, Magenta’s plan offers great value for unlimited data on a robust network. In addition, T-Mobile has excellent 5G service and international plans.

If data is your priority – in the sense of having a fast internet connection and being able to use it to download and upload data – you should consider the T-Mobile Magenta plan. T-Mobile’s original unlimited offer is more generous than its two competitors, and its 5G rollout has dramatically improved an already good network in the country’s growing segment.

Consumer Reports Magazine February 2002 Cell Phones

The price alone should draw your attention: Magenta costs $70 per month for unlimited mobile data, with 100GB being preferred. (T-Mobile may slow down your connection to make room for other customers, but whether you experience this depends on external factors such as the usage of those in the same area and how busy the network is.) This is two-fold.

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