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These are the 9 cell phone carriers people the hate most

Published Apr 7th, 2021 10:33AM EDT
Worst Cell Phone Provider
Image: leungchopan/Adobe

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As anyone who has had the misfortune of walking into a dead zone can attest, not all cellphone carriers are created equal. Putting aside price as a consideration, different carriers have no shortage of pluses and minuses. One carrier, for example, might have spotty coverage in one part of the country but great coverage everywhere else. Another carrier, meanwhile, might have nationwide coverage but poor download speeds.

With that said, BestLife recently compiled a list of the most unpopular cell phone companies in the United States. Their methodology combined two sources: data from the American Consumer Satisfaction Index Wireless Service and Cellular Telephone Report (ASCI) and reviews from Tom’s Guide.

Before diving in, it’s worth noting that ASCI’s own methodology ranked carriers based on a number of factors, including the selection of available plans, call quality, customer support, understanding of the bill, nationwide network coverage, the incidence of dropped calls, and of course, download speeds.

When the dust settled, these were the least liked carriers in the US, with the worst carrier checking in at number one.

1. Boost Mobile

2. Cricket Wireless

3. XFinity Mobile

4. AT&T

5. Mint Mobile

6. Visible

7. T-Mobile

8. Verizon

9. Consumer Cellular

Looking specifically at network quality, it’s no surprise to see the list dominated by established players like Verizon and AT&T.

Incidentally, Tom’s Guide found that T-Mobile — and not Verizon — was the top carrier in the country due to its range of plans and solid connectivity. The only strike against T-Mobile was its hard caps on data for pre-paid plans.

When it comes to the best mix of data plans, coverage and perks, T-Mobile is a tough phone carrier to beat. The Uncarrier has spent years upending the wireless business, forcing its rivals to follow suit on generously priced unlimited data plans and aggressive promotions. But T-Mobile always seems to be one step ahead of the competition.

T-Mobile offers the best unlimited data plan in the business, with its $70 Magenta plan that bakes taxes and fees into the cost of the plan and also lets you use your data when you’re overseas (albeit at slower speeds). Hearty discounts as you add lines also make Magenta the best family cell phone plan. And if you don’t need all that data, T-Mobile’s 2GB and 5GB prepaid plans are among the cheapest you’ll find.

In our LTE network testing, we found T-Mobile’s LTE download speeds were fast, even if Verizon and AT&T both finished ahead of the Uncarrier. Meanwhile, third-party testing firm OpenSignal says that T-Mobile has the fastest 5G speeds for both downloads and uploads as well as the most 5G availability. T-Mobile’s 5G service now reaches more than 285 million people, with the company increasing speeds by incorporating Sprint’s 5G spectrum into its network.

If you’re considering switching to a new carrier, the full breakdown on Tom’s guide is exhaustive and well worth looking at over here.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.