Home | Mailing List | Specifications | Care and Feeding | Modifications | Vendors | Literature


Cell Phone Providers

new 6/25/03

Ok who has what service provider and how happy or unhappy are you with them.

I'm am totally sick of SPRINT and their automated services that donít allow you the options that you need, the web services that are never working and the ignorant people that whistle JEPORDARY when talking to a HUMAN (which is very rare)

Kirk J Doucette

Well here's a subject I'm well qualified to comment on. I've been selling wireless phones and services since 1987.

I've been with Verizon for two years now, and am more than happy with them. Previously I was with Sprint (my wife works for Sprint PCS), U.S. Cellular, and Southwestern Bell (now Cingular). I could write a small novel but I'll make a few salient points here.

1. If you want good customer service, good luck with anyone. The best loser is Verizon, but Sprint's website is better than anyone else's if you don't want to talk to a sub-contracted monkey. (Hint--clean your cookies before you visit Sprint's website more than once). Cingular is simply awful, and has been for many years.

2. If you want coverage then AT&T and Verizon have nationwide, no roaming plans. But you get very few minutes to waste with them. Verizon and Sprint offer good coverage plans with good minutes, America's choice for V, Free and Clear America for S. (Hint, V and S have mutual roaming agreements, their coverage is essentially identical with those plans).

3. If you want cool phones Sprint wins hands down. Stay away from the give-away phones. Verizon has Motorola phones, my personal all-time favorite brand.

Note: I dismiss Cingular out of hand as a viable alternative. I can't figure out how they have kept in business. I also don't think Nextel is a good alternative. Nextel's service is good for a certain niche market (for now) but not for the mainstream folks.

I offer this (mostly) as not my opinion, but my experiences with the service providers and customer feedback (read anger). Coverage with any carrier is a very regional experience so due diligence on your part with local folks is essential. 

If anyone wants to discuss this further with me, do so off-list please. I am in a remote area right now using 800 service to get my email so I may not reply immediately.


My wife and I have a shared AT&T account. It is relatively expensive but it gives us a large "home" area and a lot of shared minutes. We don't have much contact with AT&T and no real problems with them. Our account came with Sony/Ericsson phones and I wonder if they are as good as others since I get a lot of static. Also these phones had low battery capacity. I bought extended batteries for both of them and now they are much better.

We debated other providers but since we travel a good amount I chose a provider that had coverage over a larger percentage of the country.

Dean James

Go with Verizon. I've had Sprint and AT&T and IMHO they both sucked. Sprint's problem for me was coverage, they had the interstates covered but off the interstates coverage was sporadic. If you did not have Sprint digital service they charged you some exorbitant roaming charge. AT&T's voice quality sucks because they use TDMA and their coverage was so so. Verizon is pretty decent because they have an almost ubiquitous coverage area (they own most of the sites, if there is no digital service chances are there is still analog), and they are now offering unlimited nights and weekends. The one thing you do have to be careful of with Verizon are the bills, check them because they always add some service that is free for the first three months then costs you. 

Chris A

I have Nextel. I got it as a business line when I started doing some free-lance sales work, because they have a "free incoming" plan for around $60/mo. I think I have free incoming, 400 anytime outgoing, and unlimited nights and weekends. If you decide to go with Nextel, find a local service store. Make sure that they are an authorized service center, because the "sales only" places suck, IMHO. You should be able to get a good deal on the phone itself if you go that route. You could also order online, where they do free shipping every other month (it seems), but my online ordering and activation experience with Nextel was less-than-stellar. Since then, though, the quality of phone service has been outstanding, and the customer service hasn't been that bad, either.

Also, for what it's worth, they are going to be soon implementing "wireless number portability." This is similar to the same service that is offered for land-lines now, where you can take your number with you, no matter the provider, for a small fee. I'm not sure how far down the road it is, but I know that I'm already getting charged a small fee now to cover the cost of upgrading the towers to handle it. Depending on if it's already available, that may be an option to pursue if you're fond of your current phone number. That was the one thing that I wasn't too pleased about when I was trying to make the decision to switch, because most of the people that called me called so infrequently that they never got my voicemail message on my old phone that I switched numbers.

Enough BS for ya? I'm with Nextel, and I'm happy with them. Neither my friend nor I could stand Verizon, and we both are fed up with Sprint, though I'm the only one that's switched so far. It pains me to say that Sprint is unfortunately one of the better ones out there...

-John B
Fed up with Sprint, too.

I have had Sprint for 6 years until last January. I loved Sprint, never had any problems with them. I now have Verizon. The only reason I switched is that I tried to add a second line to my Sprint service and they wanted a deposit. I have 3 lines on Verizon with no deposit. All 3 share 400 anytime minutes. I have unlimited nights and weekends as well as 1000 mobile to mobile minutes. Even with all 3 of us, we don't go over the anytime minutes.

I am fairly happy with Verizon so far.

Paul L Fisher

I have also been selling cellular service (or cellular benefits as my company calls them) for about 2.5 years. We sell for everyone, and we are the 2nd biggest cellular service sales center in the country (right behind Radio Shack, but not for long) Sprints coverage has come a long way in the last few years, especially in the last 6 months and you will have a hard time beating there Free & Clear America plans. I'm not too familure with Verizon because we don't sell it in any of my 9 locations. Nextel is great if you stay in there coverage area (mainly cities and highways) I have been a Nextel customer for 4 years, and have no complaints at all. If you have any questions, email me OL.


Currently as an adult my wife and I seldom use a cell phone. I do not walk down the isle at Kroger talking to my Pals every day. That said my kids wanted phones. As new drivers I wanted one in the car with them.

We are currently using a prepaid service that uses the Sprint digital network. Good coverage near highways. Free text messaging which we use often. A phone number to talk directly to a human. Very nice folks.

Cost is $6.67 per month minimum. All money rolls over. Pay as you go sort of. $.25 per minute for the first 8 per day then $.10 per min. 

No other charges. All services work. Fancy Japanese phones.

So if you do not use the phone much call Virgin mobile. 

My two phones cost $14.00 per month. Total. 

It is sort of a game in our house to see how little we can spend per month. I am trying to be retired sort of.



Use the "M-Life" program on my Siemens S-46. Works pretty cool, surf the net, send/rec email, also works as a wireless modem for my ipaq & laptop. Works pretty much wherever i go. 

Had Nextel, Sprint PCS, and Verizon. AT&T is as good as i can expect i think.

On another subject- anyone have satellite radio in their SHO? Rented a car in Tucson last week that had it (Sirrus) it was cool.. great variety of stuff to listen to. 

The thing that sucked was the antenna, big ugly black thing on the roof. Yuck

Just curious if anyone else had it.


Sprint, hate them too. Only 4 more months on this contract and they are history. I've had all the same problems you have, plus my bill is constantly messed up every month, causing me to have to call them to straighten it out.

My Dad has T-Mobile, and he seems to like it. I've heard Verizon is about the best in our area.

Bob G

T-Mobile has very limited coverage, though. For someone like Kirk going around the country doing cam-fests, or anyone else that leaves their own state more than once a year, I don't think T-Mobile has decent enough coverage to get the job done.

That's what bugs me so much about the US Cellular commercials, or at least the ones shown around here. The commercial with the doctor that became a flight attendant so he could use his "nationwide" plan... What kind of doctor NEVER takes trips out of state? And for me, in Iowa, the "home calling area" includes Iowa plus EITHER Illinois OR Nebraska. Too bad, I have friends and family in both states. I'll keep my nationwide plan, thank you.

Anyway, just something for everyone to keep in mind. Of course, if Kirk had MENTIONED how much he travels and how much he uses his phone for incoming and outbound calls, maybe we'd all have more beneficial suggestions for him ;)

-John B

I might add AT&T provided service in Los Cabos Mexico (my friends phone). My Verizon account did not.


Liked Sprint just fine when I had them. Can completely understand your gripes as they do try to automate everything.

Had Verizon. Hated them.

Have NEXTel right now. Service seems OK, but I donít use the walkie talkie anymore so they are going bye-bye in about a month and a half. Their plans are spendy in comparison.

My folks switched their whole fleet to Tmobile and seem to like it so far. I just like Catherine Zeta-Jones.


Contact Information