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Sprint Shows Big Gains in The Consumer Reports Cell Phone Issue


The Consumer Reports annual cell phone issue, “Best New Cell Phones & Plans” (January 2011) has hit newsstands and among other items of note, Consumer Reports readers ranked Sprint as the best wireless carrier in Washington, D.C., Miami, San Diego and Kansas City.

As the magazine does every year, this issue covers the best phones, services & plans, as well as network coverage in 23 cities. The ratings are based on responses from more than 58,000 Consumer Reports subscribers surveyed in September 2010.


  • Sprint’s overall reader score (which reflects readers’ overall satisfaction with their cell phone service including value, voice, data and customer support) improved a whopping six points from last year’s issue to 73. This score now puts Sprint in a statistical tie with Verizon (scored a 74) for second place (note that this year U.S. Cellular received the top spot with 82 points (although they were not rated in the majority of the markets).

  • Sprint is the only major carrier to have shown improvement in its reader scores last year and since 2008.

  • The lowest ranked carrier is AT&T with a score of 60. AT&T also ranked in last place in every one of the 23 cities surveyed.

  • Sprint received the highest reader scores in the following cities: Kansas City, Miami, San Diego, and Washington, D.C. (Last year, Sprint did not receive the top spot in any cities surveyed).

  • Consumer Reports writes that Sprint and Verizon are the best choices overall for most people.  “These are the highest-scoring nationally available carriers for contract service. Verizon has an edge in voice service overall. Sprint scored better in some aspects of customer service, which is a remarkable turnaround from past years when that was a weak point for the company.”

  • In the smart phones ratings, Sprint was ranked second (behind Verizon) in terms of user satisfaction. The magazine’s readers ranked the Epic 4G as one of the best smart phones, with the EVO 4G and Intercept placing in 2nd and 3rd place.

  • On wireless plans: Common Cents Pay As You Go Round Down is the plan the magazine recommends for the wireless consumer who only uses his or her phone a few times a month and uses fewer than 100 voice minutes. And, for the consumer who wants to do everything with their phone, the magazine considers Sprint’s Everything Data plans the “smart choice.”