Better Cell Phone Service

Cell phones have been around for more than a decade. But a survey of almost 40,000 Consumer Reports subscribers shows there are still plenty of problems with service.

Consumer Reports found some carriers are better than others.

One hundred seventy million people have a cell phone. And you don't have to go far to hear a number of complaints.

A just published Consumer Reports' survey assessed six national wireless carriers... Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint and Nextel, as well as Cingular and AT&T. The survey compared the carriers in 17 cities. It turns out there are major problems with every carrier.

More than half of the respondents said they weren't very satisfied with their cell phone service, a very poor showing. But some carriers did do better than others.

Verizon was consistently at the top of the ratings. It had the highest level of customer satisfaction and fewer problems with service.

For a third year in a row, Verizon had the strongest showing in the survey. And this year, T-Mobile moved up as a strong second choice.

Whichever carrier you sign up for, Consumer Reports says take advantage of the trial period to make sure the service works where and when you need it.

The recent merger of AT&T and Cingular has created the largest wireless carrier.

The proposed merger of Sprint and Nextel could create the third largest if it comes to pass.

Consumer Reports says customers of merging cell phone companies should check their bills carefully for mistakes as companies combine operations.

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