Phone company

Is a phone company the best? ConsumerAffairs reviewers are divided

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Nowadays, almost everyone on the planet owns a cell phone or a smartphone. For wireless companies like AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile to win new subscribers, they usually have to take them from their competitors.

All three companies offer generous sign-up incentives and brag about their coverage area, but is one of these companies better than the others? When we checked the overall ratings ConsumerAffairs reviewers gave the big three, we found that little separated them in the eyes of their customers.

Based on 693 reviews, ConsumerAffairs reviewers give AT&T a 3.2-star rating. It’s slightly ahead of Verizon, with 3 stars based on 961 reviews. Both trail newly combined T-Mobile and Sprint with 3.3 stars, based on 704 reviews.

With the big three virtually neck and neck, we decided to take a deep dive into the reviews to see what reviewers like and dislike about the companies and see if any themes emerge.


Farhad, from Seattle, was a very unhappy AT&T customer when he posted a 1-star review on our site in April.

“After almost 18 years with AT&T wireless service, I am forced to cut the tie,” Farhad wrote. “The reason is quite simple. This is due to their poor customer service, unhelpful management and not to mention their outrageously high service rates. Although their service is fine, their agents mislead customers into add a plan that supposedly lowered my monthly cost, instead it increased.

There are several 1 star reviews in which the main complaint was a promotion that did not live up to the presentation. While it’s possible that customers misunderstood how it worked, it suggests that pitches often lead to misunderstandings.

“I transferred Verizon’s cell service to wireless on August 5, 2020, lured by a $700 offer to trade in my and my wife’s cell phones and transfer our numbers to AT&T wireless,” wrote James, of Covington. , Georgia, in a ConsumerAffairs article. “The offer was to be effective 60 days from the date I signed up. I made numerous attempts to have AT&T resolve this issue, they even gave me a case number and promised it would be supported by January 4, 2021. I receive the bypass but not the credits for transferring my services to AT&T.”

But Sonia, a reviewer from Houston, gave AT&T a 5-star review after switching companies.

“I have great service,” she wrote. “I used to have another provider, but I was losing signal all the time and it wasn’t cheap. So now with my provider I have service and haven’t had any signal issues or anything. Also, I receive my devices and in a way that I can afford to pay. I’m happy.

Patricia from Warrenville, Illinois, found reason to complain even as she gave AT&T a 5-star review.

“Love the service, never had any issues,” she wrote. “Very few calls dropped. However, I think their plans are expensive compared to others. Customer service is also good. Phone selection is very good.


Verizon has its share of 1-star reviews, with common issues being errors on bills and problems with customer service. Charles, of Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania, said he liked the coverage area provided by Verizon, but ultimately couldn’t stand the level of customer service he received.

“It is impossible to communicate with a person who can actually do something about Verizon’s mistakes,” Charles wrote. “And when you try, it will waste a lot of time and leave you frustrated and defeated.”

Charles wrote that the last straw was when the company charged him $13,000 instead of his usual $124 per month. He said the customer service representatives he contacted agreed that it must have been a mistake, but there was nothing anyone could do about it.

Misty, from St. Augustine, Florida, had the opposite experience. She wrote in a 5-star review that she called Verizon in tears about her bill.

“I spoke with Shantelle,” Misty wrote. “She listened to me cry as I explained my situation. First and foremost, she made sure I was okay and spoke to me in a calm voice. Once I was ok she continued to resolve my issues. So many times she assured me that everything would be fine. She took care of every issue and even a few that I didn’t see myself! I truly felt loved at the end of our conversation. She definitely changed my feelings.

There seem to be very few issues with Verizon’s coverage area. Most dissatisfaction seems to stem from the frustration of trying to fix a problem with a phone or plan.


Customer service is a common topic in 1-star reviews from T-Mobile, which recently merged with Sprint. Sometimes we get bad reviews about a particular store from a reviewer, but then we get a positive review from someone in another city who will praise the local store in a 5 star review. Like the other two major carriers, misunderstandings about the plans appear in some T-Mobile reviews.

“T-Mobile has launched a promotion to receive free phones, via monthly credits for each old phone number ported,” writes Erick, of St. George, Utah. “The T-Mobile representative confirmed that our phones were eligible and transferred the numbers for us.”

Erick said the first bill was correct but the second included a charge for one of the ‘free’ phones.

“The subsequent follow-up was that we weren’t told, although we should have been, that our phones weren’t eligible for the free phone promotion,” Erick said.

Rona, from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, gave T-Mobile a 5-star review in which she said she was happy with both the service and the terms of her plan.

“Everything is unlimited, no slowdowns or sharing for much less than any other provider,” Rona wrote in her ConsumerAffairs post. “They are always ready to change us for the best offer available, without a contract. They don’t need to lock you up. You stay because your bill is always correct, a perfect connection anywhere.

Do your research and choose the best plan for you

When it comes to the big three wireless service providers, some consumers have experienced issues while others have not. Problems with customer service seem common in all three.

When choosing a wireless service provider, consider the monthly cost and the provider’s coverage area where you live. If you are considering a special promotion, make sure you understand it and ask questions.

While you’re doing your research, be sure to check out ConsumerAffairs’ guide to wireless services, which also includes reviews for some independent providers.