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Mountain Wireless Network Reports & Ratings
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Cellular Carrier Ratings
We rate each carrier based on our view of what is important and how each carrier performs in those areas. The higher the score, the better the Rating. The ratings are displayed on our State Review Pages.

   How We Rate a Carrier:
  • For our "MW Ratings", we compare Coverage, Plans, Prices, Roaming Abilities, Customer Service, Device Selection and availability of Data and Features. We visit each carrier's web site, call their customer service, roam on their network, collect user data, and/or interview company representatives.

  • Then we give a numeric score based on performance compared to other carriers, with overall ratings adjusted so there is at least one #1 and one #10 rated carrier, 10 being the Best. These Ratings are shown on our State Review Pages.

  • From time to time we hear from these carriers to dispute their rating and we give them an opportunity to make their case.  In very few cases they have been able to convince us that they deserve an improvement of one step in their rating, however, the next time we review their performance compared to similar carriers, they could return to their former position. 

  • Our Ratings are indeed opinionated, but do not reflect any payment or compensation (we wish!), and we address our relationships with these carriers on our Disclaimer page.

  • The top 4 national carriers never make it to the top of our ratings. We find much better treatment of customers among the small, regional carriers.  What they lack in purchasing power for devices, they make up in customer service and technical awareness.  Our top-rated carriers, Viaero Wireless and C Spire Wireless are not perfect, but are more pleasant to deal with than the Top 4.  Among the largest cellular carriers, US Cellular normally rates the highest.

  • The bottom of the list is usually held by companies that either don't care about their wireless operation or who can't afford to maintain their network and have given up, probably hoping for a takeover from a larger company.  One such operation is Big Sky Mobile in Montana. They offer no data, very few phones, and have not been able to answer our questions.

  • When a carrier falls to the #2 or #1 ratings position, the next step usually means they disappear.  We hate it when that happens.


  • Our Ratings are indeed subjective, especially when assigning a number. To determine a Rating, we decided there should be a #1 and #10. Even if a carrier isn't perfect, a Rating at the top or bottom of this scale indicates that you just can't get any better (or worse). Then we look at relative positions: Is AT&T really worse than Sprint? In some markets yes, in others it's a close call. We compare coverage, features, prices, customer service and more. We need to eventually assign a number, and in a few instances, we need to 'punt'. We are ready to defend our decisions and invite you to challenge us on our Wireless Noise Discussion Page. Often we discover features offered by a carrier that were unknown to us, sometimes allowing for an improved Rating, but we won't do it just because someone complains. Since we base our opinion on our own experience, those of other wireless customers, or by checking each carrier's web site, there's a good chance we won't find the whole story. Our opinion is not influenced by any compensation or advertising relationship with any carrier.
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