Where does your cell phone service rank?

LOS ANGELES This survey was conducted in cities all across the country including the Los Angeles area. And one of the things we found when we teamed up with Consumer Reports is that even though you may like your iPhone, you probably don't like the cell phone service.

Malu Greenberg loves her iPhone for its applications and texting. But she'd like to dump her AT&T cell service.

"When you're trying to make a phone call and you can't get through, it's frustrating, especially when you really need to make a phone call," said Malu.

That echoes what Consumer Reports learned in its annual cell-phone survey of 50,000 subscribers in 26 cities. AT&T ranked at the bottom for customer satisfaction, along with Sprint.

"AT&T got our lowest rating for connectivity. That's how well people could make calls without getting static or their calls dropped," said Rosalind Tordesillas, Consumer Reports.

AT&T's network is apparently being overtaxed by the iPhone's incredible popularity.

"Overall, the top complaint is price. People may have seen their bills rise because they're probably using their phones more, and in different ways," said Tordesillas.

Take texting. Almost 70 percent said they now send and receive text messages. And about 40 percent said they access the internet over their phone.

"The verdict was mixed. While texters didn't have too many problems, more than a third of surfers complained about slow web access," said Tordesillas.

The best cell phone service? Turns out Verizon Wireless was a top performer in most cities.

"Verizon rated above average for everything we measured, including connectivity and customer support," said Tordesillas.

But you can pay premium prices for Verizon. That turned out to be the biggest survey complaint about the carrier.

If you're dissatisfied with your service, Consumer Reports says shop around. There are online services that can help you determine how much you'll pay for the major carriers' plans. And periodically check your own carrier to see if it's offering new plans that are a better deal.

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