Currently in the United States, AT&T Wireless and Verizon Wireless are the largest and top providers for cell phone service. They are followed by Sprint, T-Mobile, and others. I don’t have the latest statistics, but that is generally true.
How you choose your wireless provider comes with a list of factors that would determine the best fit for you. Here’s a list of what you should keep in mind in determining which provider to select:
- coverage in your local area and potentially where you frequently travel to
- rates for data, minutes, and text messages domestically
- types of (smart-) phones offered
Cities usually have the best coverage, but it’s best to ask around to see what people are experiencing. Large providers such as AT&T and Verizon provide maps online to show where coverage should be, but people will be able to tell you how the reception has been best.
The term “unlimited” is becoming very popular. Ten years ago (2006/2007), having a set number/allowance of minutes and text messages was common among all the providers. Now, minutes and text messages are often unlimited while data is limited. Providers besides Verizon and AT&T are often marketing unlimited plans to include minutes, data, and text messages to be more competitive. However, if you read the small print, the “unlimited data” is actually limited in speed which could affect your experience.
I pay more attention to the larger providers as I enjoy having great coverage in all areas across the U.S. and enjoy using the more modern phones. Most of the phones you see advertised on television are the competitive and high-performing mobile devices from manufacturers such as Apple, Samsung, Google, LG, Motorola, etc. The latest phones from Google, Samsung, and Apple, for example, are always available at the larger providers. They do, however, also sell lower end phones that you could find from their websites or by visiting their stores in person. Their sales representatives are always eager to show and sell!
This is the general approach to looking at a service provider. As you look at your situation, you will want to look at plans, how their offerings benefit yourself, and other factors that we could discuss. For more information, questions, or if you have anything you’d like to add, feel free to leave a comment below.