Speed, coverage, or price - what do you look for most when choosing a carrier?

Speed, coverage, or price - what do you look for most when choosing a carrier?
According to the latest survey by research shop Jefferies, the number one priority for carrier subs is network performance and reliability (46%), followed by monthly costs (30%), while unlimited data plan was cited as most important by only 8% of those surveyed, and those were skewed heavily towards the Sprint camp. 

Until recently, it seemed that you can't have your cake, and eat it too, as a vast and speedy network requires significant capital outlays that have to be recouped with higher prices. Now that the bulk of 4G LTE investment has been done by carriers, and all eyes are on the "5G" upgrades, the unlimited data or prepaid plan pricing has started to even out to some extent, especially for family offers

That is why we wanted to ask you what is the most important feature for you in a carrier network and the respective plan costs to access it - speed, coverage and reliability, or pricing - and we are deliberately excluding the "all of the above" option.

Speed, coverage, or price - what do you look for most when choosing a carrier?

Speed
9.22%
Coverage/reliability
62.47%
Price
28.31%

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14 Comments

1. harvardale

Posts: 51; Member since: Jul 22, 2011

How about a combination of the three?

6. MrShazam

Posts: 987; Member since: Jun 22, 2017

First thing that comes to mind. Coverage and speed are important to me, but would settle for slightly less of either for a much better price.

2. sissy246

Posts: 6907; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

Yes, all three

3. seanwhat

Posts: 321; Member since: Jul 11, 2013

dumb poll

9. QWIKSTRIKE

Posts: 1457; Member since: Mar 09, 2010

Exactly, because I look for all three. Since I get service most places than not with Sprint, along with unlimited data I choose them until something changes..

4. jove39

Posts: 2137; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

1. Coverage/reliability 2. Speed

5. libra89

Posts: 2158; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Ooh that's hard to choose one. Recently, I switched carriers from T-Mobile to cricket. T-Mobile is great in price and speed, but just okay in coverage. I tried out cricket and I found it to be much better at work and I had signal in areas where I didn't have it before for some quirky reason. I miss the T-Mobile speeds though. If forced to choose one, I would say coverage first.

7. Tsepz_GP

Posts: 1126; Member since: Apr 12, 2012

Coverage is my number 1 priority, but all 3 are key areas, that said, no point in Speed and Price if you can only get limited coverage. Many of these smaller networks easily come in with great speed and price, but only cover major cities. Get on the highway and go a few 100kms out of the city, and boom, zero coverage.

8. domfonusr

Posts: 1025; Member since: Jan 17, 2014

1. Price 2. Coverage 3. Reliability 4. Speed First of all, coverage and reliability are not the same thing: having signal in the first place is coverage, but if your network drops calls when you have just two bars of service, then reliability is what is suffering. For a long time I had AT&T at the house, and maximum signal strength, even in the basement, but calls could not stay connected for more than five minutes at a time, ever. I had Verizon and T-Mobile at the same house, and T-Mobile had almost no signal, but stayed connected on one bar of service for hours at a time. Verizon had not quite as good signal as AT&T, and stayed connected for longer than AT&T but not T-Mobile. AT&T had great coverage, but low reliability, and I eventually found out that it was because new calls were bumping existing calls off of the tower based on who was talking for the longest. When AT&T launched 3G service in the area, the reliability slowly improved, and when I got a 3G phone, it was great for reliability. The coverage was great all along, but the oversaturation of customers on the GSM towers (and the policy that controlled which calls got routed through and when, based on the criteria that somebody at AT&T selected) caused reliability to be absolutely crappy in the beginning. Thus, I argue that coverage and reliability are two different factors. For me, price is first. If it isn't affordable, then how can I be involved in the first place? Coverage is second because, if it is affordable, I next must know if there is decent signal at my location. Signal implies the ability to make a new connection, though it does not guarantee that said connection is held for long. Good coverage is pretty indicative of how texting will go, since that is low-bandwidth activity. Reliability is third - once I have good signal, I would like to see how long my connection lasts before it drops, which is tied to customer density, signal propagation properties, and, in the end, the efficiency of the switch and all that. Last of all, speed is my lowest priority because I am used to speeds on GSM's EDGE networks, and both 3G/4G and 4G LTE are so stinking fast compared to that, that even though my service at Cricket is capped at 8 Mbps, I don't notice any real wait times for anything I try to do with my Moto E.

12. Leo_MC

Posts: 6149; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

"I next must know if there is decent signal at my location" Get a fixed line and you'll be having all the signal you want at "your location"; a mobile line needs to have coverage in most locations.

10. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

1. Coverage 2. Speed Price is of no issue to me.

11. Skizzo

Posts: 401; Member since: Jul 14, 2013

A combination reliability AND price.

13. kanagadeepan

Posts: 1190; Member since: Jan 24, 2012

Option 4 : All the above.

14. L0n3n1nja

Posts: 1504; Member since: Jul 12, 2016

No coverage it won't work, easy to see what's important.

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