I'm Goin' Mobile (with Verizon)
Written: Apr 12, 2007 (Updated May 1, 2007)
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Over the past ten years, I have had and used mobile phone service from T-Mobile, Nextel, Alltel, and Sprint and, most recently, Verizon in the Tampa Bay area. While mobile phone service in general has one of the lowest satisfaction rates of any service (except perhaps cable TV) as noted in a leading consumer magazine, it is becoming one of the most widely used services, short of water and electric utilities.
I am commenting exclusively on Verizons mobile phone service, not their customer service, or their hardware. My reviews of Verizon's customer service, and the LG VX8300 phone they sent me can be found elsewhere. This is just an anecdotal report on my experience using the phone in the Tampa/ Saint Petersburg area (or St Petersburgh, as its spelled in the item heading).
Ive used Verizon for about a month now, and I have not had a single dropped call. I have not had a single call that did not go through. I did not have any missed tower hand-offs where the call was dropped in the middle of any of the Tampa Bay areas long bridges (where the cell sites apparently fail to overlap for some carriers). The reception has been flawless all over the metro area. There have been no fringe areas, or need for roaming service. I would give Verizons network a big thumbs up for service in the Tampa Bay area.
Thats much more than I can say for Sprint, my most recent carrier (through work). Calls were frequently dropped, or did not go through at all. Reception was impossible inside most buildings (could be a function of the hardware), and during many calls only every fourth or fifth word was audibleTerrible! Alltel was fairly reliable, while T-Mobile and Nextel were average: some good calls, some bad calls.
Sign-up is fairly easy with Verizon, and can be handled on their website, as can activation (usually), changes, and communications with customer service. DO NOT sign up for the detailed paper billing ($2 a month) if you are going to manage your account on the Verizon Wireless website- all the detail you want is available for free there, and you can download and print if you need hard copy. On-line account registration also allows free on-line management of your phone's address book, a very handy feature when starting out and transferring dozens or hundred of entries. Also handy as a back-up in case you lose or change your hardware.
Before making a final decision however, be sure to take into account your usage patterns, the length of commitment required (and activation fees if any), the actual cost per minute of the plan you are buying, plus the cost of extra minutes and services, if you think you might ever need or use them. Verizon will allow plan changes, but that may lead to re-starting the clock on a two-year commitment, especially during the first year. Cancellation fees are industry-standard, but decrease during the life of the contract. Right now Verizon is allowing a 30-day service trial, which allows you to cancel with no obligation or fee during the trial period.
Verizon currently touts their "In Calling", which allows free unlimited talk time to other Verizon Wireless customers. They claim 54 million subscribers, but oddly enough, not one of nearly a hundred friends, family, and colleagues I checked were on Verizon. Not a deal-breaker; maybe they'll all switch sometime in the future...
Alltel has the "My Circle", where you chose any ten numbers and get free unlimited talk time to them. This might be worth considering if you mainly phone a very limited group of people.
For the money, overall, Verizon is an excellent choice as a mobile carrier in the Tampa Bay area.
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Amount Paid (US$): $40/mo+fees