Pros: Reasonable plans and early start for "Nights & Weekends" minutes.
Cons: EasyEdge Data Service is not WAP enabled and some internet content is restricted.
I have been a U.S. Cellular customer for at least 4 years, and although I have had some issues with dropped calls and poor reception, I recently (11/06) signed up for another two year contract with them. I like the fact that I can call other U.S. Cellular customers free of charge and that "Nights & Weekends" minutes start at 7 pm.
When I was having problems with dropping calls I was within a decent sized city (Madison, WI) and everywhere other than my home neighborhood had fine cell phone reception. This made me nervous as I didn't have a land line phone and if an emergency happened I was almost sure to drop the call.
I took my phone back during the 30 day trial period and was told that the problem was due to the fact that U.S. Cellular didn't have a tower in the area of Madison that I lived and that if I wanted to upgrade my phone (an LG VX4400) to the next highest choice (and pay more) I might have better reception. At the time I wasn't up to paying more for an upgrade and I dealt with the issue of dropping calls by constantly saying "Hello?...Can you hear me?...Hello?", just to make sure my callee was on the line,or by making calls near a window or outside (which gets old in Wisconsin winters).
I have since moved a couple times from that location and have done alright with reception until I came to my current home in a smaller southern Wisconsin town. I was constantly dropping calls and afraid to turn my head for fear of losing the call. I was close to my contract termination so I stuck it out. I didn't want to pay the $150 early termination fee.
I shopped around a bit but ended up finding that U.S. Cellular had a plan that made sense for me and with other carriers I would be paying for minutes and features that I didn't need.
The reception issue seems to have been due to the phone I was using as I haven't had much of an issue since receiving my current LG UX390.
My current issue with U.S. Cellular is in regards to their EasyEdge wireless service. Access to the internet through the phone is a luxury for those of us who like to have current information and access to email as well as entertainment, sports, and ringtones & wallpaper that reflects our personality.
The charge for the EasyEdge data network is either unlimited access for a flat montly rate or pay per kilobyte. This doesn't include the credits that you have to individually purchase in order to access ringtones and wallpaper and other content. This all gets charged to your monthly cell phone bill.
If you are unfamiliar with the EasyEdge content, it would be wise to get the unlimited access for a month so you can check out the content. Paying per kb adds up fast. You can also go to U.S. Cellular's EasyEdge page and find links to the various applications that are offered. Searching online through ringtones and wallpaper on their website is cheaper and will produce faster results than trying to do it on your phone.
EasyEdge is not WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) enabled so do not purchase ringtones or wallpaper online through a subscription website (i.e. Funtonia) as you will not be able to access the content you paid for through your EasyEdge data service. WAP content is blocked. Please don't waste your money on anything this frivolous unless you are sure that you can access it from your phone.
If having internet access without restrictions is important to you don't go with U.S. Cellular.