No. of Recommendations: 4
Mark -

You can talk to dozens of people and you'll hear horror stories about every carrier out there. You'll also hear someone rave about every one as well.

The individual carriers will not be able to tell you with any certainty what your reception will be like. Most of them will point to their coverage map of colored areas and tell you "the reception is great anywhere in here"'s a complete lie. Until a carrier comes up with a "try before you buy" deal (I'd love it if they did!), here's what I would recommend:

1) Find out as best you can just how and where you are going to use your phone.
2) Talk to friends, family, co-workers about their phones, where they use them, and what their experiences are. It is very important that you talk to people who use the phones in your area! Looking up ratings on the internet will get you reviews from some guy 1200 miles away from you that says coverage stinks! The best thing would be to take your friends with you into areas you want your phone to work (your house, the mall, your office building, etc.). Ask them if they drive the same roads as you also. This will give you a much better sense of the Quality of Service you will receive than anything else.
3) You should also pay attention to the actual phone models that people use. Some are said to have better reception than others, though I think the biggest difference is in the carrier infrastructure (location of towers and cell plan).

There is a report available that lists the tower sites of all carriers nationwide that I could give you the link to, but it costs several thousand dollars, so I would assume you're not interested.

Unfortunately, buying a wireless device is still very hit and miss. I've personally had to pay $60 to find out a phone would not work for me with SprintPCS. I'll be doing more legwork before I commit to another carrier at this point.

Hope this helps.

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