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Thread: Small Cell Phone Providers.

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    Small Cell Phone Providers.

    I am brand new to mobile cell phones and know even less about providers of cell phone service. I read in Consumer Reports review of cell phones and cell phone service providers.

    Why does Consumer Cellular and Ting have the highest rating in terms of customer satisfaction for billed service , while the giants(AT&T, Sprint, T-mobile) have the lowest. Is there a reason why customers don't switch to Consumer Cellular and Ting? From what I understand the smaller ones are less expensive than AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint. What is going on?

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    These "small phone service providers" are known as MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators). They buy mobile service wholesale from the carriers, repackage it and sell it retail. In some cases (e.g. MetroPCS, Boost, Cricket) they are really just another marketing outlet for the carrier. They are able to offer plans that don't really interest the host networks, tailored to specific segments of the population. For instance, Consumer Cellular markets to seniors. Cricket is AT&T's vehicle to compete with T-Mobile on price.
    Donald Newcomb

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    """""FREE PHONES""""" [sic] is the main reason postpaid still rules.
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    Thanks for the information. DRNewcomb says that Consumer Cellular is marketed toward seniors. Is that because older people generally don't use the phone for talk,text, data as much as younger people? For people who use the phone a lot(young people) a major carrier would be a better choice?

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    If you're asking for yourself. Projected usage (min, txt, data) would suit you. Ask people around your areas of travel what carrier (backbone) has the best coverage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thecla1966 View Post
    Thanks for the information. DRNewcomb says that Consumer Cellular is marketed toward seniors. Is that because older people generally don't use the phone for talk,text, data as much as younger people? For people who use the phone a lot(young people) a major carrier would be a better choice?
    It all depends. A younger user might be better off with an MVNO like Cricket or MetroPCS. These are the prepaid "faces" of AT&T and T-Mobile. They offer much lower rates than their "mothership" brands but lack a lot of "bells and whistles". For instance, both of them have 2nd or 3rd rate customer service, don't offer as much roaming in places not covered by the "mothership" or charge extra for domestic roaming. Consumer Cellular charges a bit more but has very good customer service and plans that are tailored for older folks. I'd say that people who need the main 4 "mothership" brands are those who need domestic or international roaming, better customer service and all the other features. For instance, with T-Mobile you get free in-flight texting over WiFi on flights that offer it. You don't get that with an MVNO. The MVNO's offer a huge range of plans and options. Most people seem incredulous when I tell them that I get minimal basic voice & text service on Verizon's network for ~$30/year but it's true. PagePlus offers a PAYG plan that does this. A lot of people pay at least $30/month and don't turn their phone on except in an emergency. Waste of $330 per year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thecla1966 View Post
    I am brand new to mobile cell phones and know even less about providers of cell phone service. I read in Consumer Reports review of cell phones and cell phone service providers.

    Why does Consumer Cellular and Ting have the highest rating in terms of customer satisfaction for billed service , while the giants(AT&T, Sprint, T-mobile) have the lowest. Is there a reason why customers don't switch to Consumer Cellular and Ting? From what I understand the smaller ones are less expensive than AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint. What is going on?
    I just gotta say I miss the RAZR. Great name!

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    Quote Originally Posted by thecla1966 View Post
    I am brand new to mobile cell phones and know even less about providers of cell phone service. I read in Consumer Reports review of cell phones and cell phone service providers.

    Why does Consumer Cellular and Ting have the highest rating in terms of customer satisfaction for billed service , while the giants(AT&T, Sprint, T-mobile) have the lowest. Is there a reason why customers don't switch to Consumer Cellular and Ting? From what I understand the smaller ones are less expensive than AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint. What is going on?
    Full-price service on the Big-4 includes all the premium features:

    Roaming
    24/7 Phone support
    Good online account management
    Online chat support
    Many walk-in stores for service and support
    VoLTE calls (on some carriers)
    Wifi calls
    Visual voicemail
    Conditional call forwarding
    Call blocking
    Text blocking
    Choice of phone area code and local exchange numbers
    Family/group discounts
    Free loaner phone for international travel

    Advertising - it is not a service feature, but is very expensive. When was the last time you watched an hour of television on most channels and there wasn't an ad by one of the Big-4?

    Generally, the lower the price, the less premium features are included. Roaming, walk-in stores, and 24/7 phone support by competent English speaking agents are usually the first to go because they are expensive to provide.

    Consumer Cellular has good customer support and is the only MVNO that has full AT&T roaming coverage, but not the lowest no-frills price. They have crafted their service offerings to appeal to older customers who tend to be less tech savvy and value customer service.

    There are service providers with prices all the way down to $0.

    Consumer Reports is not known for reviewing arcane products that might be a good value to just a few people.

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    I tried really hard to switch from Verizon to save money. MetroPCS offered very good value for the money. But customer service did them in, so I went to T-Mobile. Again, good cell phone plans with good value for the money. Great download speeds. But again, customer service just blows. So after 3 months I went back to Verizon. At east I know when I have an issue, I will be assisted by a knowledgeable rep who will comprehend and correct my issue. So in the end, you really do get what you pay for. I can't see myself switching again. Oh and did I mention Straight talk? I pay for my brothers phone on that network and their customers service makes postal workers seem customer friendly. They don't even pretend to care about their customers.

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    Another benefit to postpaid, is its post-paid. They usually work with you when you can't afford to pay your bill, or when your paycheck cycle doesn't quite match up with your bill due date.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jecko View Post
    I tried really hard to switch from Verizon to save money. MetroPCS offered very good value for the money. But customer service did them in, so I went to T-Mobile......
    Yeah, MetroPCS may take the prize for worst customer service. This is why seniors tend to be happier with Consumer Cellular. They're an AT&T MVNO that has lower-usage plans that fit senior's needs combined with good, sympathetic customer service but they also charge a bit more than other MVNOs.

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    There is no one answer to the cheapest & best cell provider. Our postpaid AT&T is cheaper than Cricket for the 4 lines with the Uverse TV plan and 25% FAN discount. Each individual needs to price out the plan and chose what they perceive is best for their situation and realize others will come to a different conclusion. Some have tried to persuade me that I should include the phone cost from AT&T but not include the upfront phone cost with Cricket to make it appear Cricket is cheaper. Total cost of the cell plan including the phone cost is how we compare plans.

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    Personally I don't mind peeling boiled eggs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DRNewcomb View Post
    Yeah, MetroPCS may take the prize for worst customer service. This is why seniors tend to be happier with Consumer Cellular. They're an AT&T MVNO that has lower-usage plans that fit senior's needs combined with good, sympathetic customer service but they also charge a bit more than other MVNOs.
    I agree with you, and you can also add the Consumer Cellular phones for seniors "the Doro phones", which is not available by most of the MVNOs or the major carriers.

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    America's small cities and rural areas have many small cell phone service providers from my experience, dealing with Cincinnati Bell Wireless has always been painless when compared to dealing with Sprint, Verizon or AT&T. They're attentive and they truly want your business. Unfortunately, being on T-Mobile's band, your 3G data options are extremely limited when roaming. Other than that, they're great. In fact, if I didn't move out of the region, I would still be a customer.

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