C/Net’s Marguerite Reardon, is one of the most knowledgeable writers today on wireless topics. Today she offered helpful advice gleaned from common questions from readers, friends, and family members:
Having reported on the wireless beat for six years, I’ve fielded hundreds of questions from readers, friends, and family members. After getting flooded with questions about the new iPhone 4, the time seemed ripe for me to make my advice more widely available to all CNET readers. So consider me your go-to source for all things wireless.
Which is more important, the provider or the phone? When do you think it’s worth switching companies to get different hardware (asked by the only person in Boston with T-Mobile).
I would say that the service provider is the most important thing for a wireless consumer to consider when making a purchasing decision. I know that the Apple iPhone is wildly popular and some people are going bananas for the new HTC Evo, but at the end of the day you need to be able make phone calls and access the network to surf the Web or fire up all those cool mobile apps. If the service is crappy where you live then the phone won’t be much good to you. Plus, as more Android phones come on the market, every carrier will soon have similarly cool devices to choose from.
Service quality varies for every wireless operator in any given region. When you are researching a new phone, look at the coverage map for your area online. I’d even ask the salespeople in the local store about coverage where you live and work. And then I’d ask friends, family members, co-workers, neighbors, and the person standing in line in front of you at the local Starbucks what they think about their service.
Make sure you consider how well the service works in areas of the country where you plan to travel regularly. For example, I live in Manhattan. All four major wireless operators have good coverage in New York City with some exceptions. But my father lives in Delaware, and only two of the nation’s biggest carriers offer decent service there. Even though Sprint’s service map claims it offers service in his tiny little town, I have never been able to use a Sprint phone in or around his house.
Check out some of her other helpful suggestions, here.