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CONSUMER REPORTS: Small mobile carriers have happier customers than big four

Most of us still get our cell-phone service from one of the four big wireless providers: Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, or sprint.

But a consumer reports survey finds that people who use smaller services tend to be happier.

We love being on our cell phones, but for many of us, that doesn't extend to our cell-phone service. Consumer Reports asked 90 thousand of its subscribers to rate their cell service. A survey asked consumers about data, texting, voice, customer service, and whether they felt they got good value for the money.

Verizon Wireless, AT&T, and Sprint get the lowest rating possible for value. T-Mobile is a better deal, but it still ranked lower than some of the smaller providers.

People who use Consumer Cellular and Ting gave top marks for value and customer service, but they were also quite pleased with the data and voice.

Ting customers like Scott Yules are billed for the service they use rather than paying a flat rate.

"What made me switch was the bill. My bill literally cut in half," said Yules.

Ting uses both the Sprint and T-Mobile networks. It offers a variety of phones, including the Samsung Galaxy S6 and the Apple iPhone 6s, and Ting makes it easy to check and see whether you can use your old phone.

Consumer Cellular is also highly rated. It runs on the AT&T network. It offers combo text, talk, and data plans for as little as $25 per month.

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