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Sprint is the worst cellphone service provider, Consumer Reports says

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Sprint has landed at the bottom of Consumer Reports' annual ranking of cellphone service providers, dropping from the No. 2 spot last year.

Sprint this year received "dismal marks" for value, voice, text and 4G reliability, according to the report, which is based on a survey of 58,399 subscribers.

Verizon was once again the top major carrier, receiving high scores for data service and "some aspects of customer support."

AT&T and T-Mobile got mostly middling marks, although AT&T received the top rating for the reliability of its 4G service.

The overall leader on the Consumer Reports cell service satisfaction list, perhaps surprisingly, was little known Consumer Cellular, which received strong scores across the board even though it uses the same network as AT&T. Consumer Cellular offers no-contract, prepaid service.

“Our latest cell service satisfaction survey revealed a somewhat precipitous decline by Sprint that shuffled the rankings of the major standard service providers,” said Glenn Derene, electronics content development team leader for Consumer Reports.

“And smaller, no-frills, no-contract and prepaid service providers continue to do a better job of satisfying customers, and provide an increasingly viable alternative to some of the expensive, long-term contracts that many consumers find themselves locked into.”

The survey also found that among the respondents who had data plans with set limits on usage, 38% used only half or less of their monthly allotment. 

The new Consumer Reports cell service Ratings can be found online and in the January issue of Consumer Reports.

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