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Sprint edges out other big brands in value

December 6, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Cellphones keep getting smarter and customers keep getting more frustrated with the high cost of staying in touch.

If you're the type of person who uses their smartphone mainly to make calls and send text messages, a little-known company could save you a lot of money.

The big nationwide cellphone carriers come up short when it comes to value for the money in Consumer Reports' annual survey.

Sprint edged out the others.

"Sprint is the last of the big carriers to offer unlimited data plans, which can make a big difference if you surf the Web or if you download lots of apps and videos," said Rsalind Tordesillas of Consumer Reports.

If you're someone who only calls and texts, a small national carrier, Consumer Cellular, beat out the big carriers for value.

"Consumer Cellular is definitely worth considering," Tordesillas said. "When we compared plans, this company had the best rates most often, especially for the basics."

A prepaid service is another money-saving option for people who call or text occasionally. There's no contract with prepaid phones. You just pay for minutes or texts as you go.

Tracfone was rated among the best prepaid carriers in Consumer Reports' satisfaction survey.

Another way to cut your costs is to shop for a phone in stores like Wal-Mart, Costco or Radio Shack. The selection may not be as wide, but you can save money.

How did the other carriers do in Consumer Reports' survey? For overall satisfaction, Verizon tied Sprint. Although Verizon didn't do as well for value, it edged out Sprint for texting.

AT&T rated last in the survey, a dubious distinction the carrier has held for years.

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