U.S. Cellular is a Chicago based wireless service provider, serving 23 states in the Pacific Northwest, Midwest, parts of the East and New England. Originally founded in 1983, U.S. Cellular has achieved popularity for its prepaid cellphone service by allowing subscribers to receive texts without charge whilst in their local calling area. The company now also offers a choice of pay-as-you-go options, prepaid monthly plans and unlimited accessory bundles to its significant database of subscribers.
Pros of U.S. Cellular
· Low roaming charges.
· No charges for receiving text messages.
· Free battery swap service if you are out and your battery expires.
Cons of U.S. Cellular
· High activation and service fees.
· Some of the accessory bundles have excessive calling charges.
· Not all cellphones are fully compatible with U.S. Cellular services.
U.S. Cellular Pay-as-you-go
U.S. Cellular offers a choice of two basic pay-as-you-go prepaid cellphone options to its subscribers. Both require an activation fee of $50.00 and a monthly subscription, but thereafter the cost of using the cellphone to make and receive calls and send texts is relatively inexpensive. The $6.00 monthly pay-as-you-go plan allows subscribers to make domestic calls from their cellphone at the rate of $0.15/minute within the U.S. Cellular area, with roaming charges of just $0.29/minute when required. Sending text and picture messages costs $0.25/message, but there is no charge for receiving them.
The second pay-as-you-go prepaid cellphone option has a $10.00 monthly subscription charge with talk time charged at $0.10/minute and the same rate applicable to text and picture messages. Both services include free nationwide long distance calling (via the Verizon network), a voicemail facility, conference calling, call waiting and caller ID.
U.S. Cellular Monthly Plans
Irrespective of whether subscribers prefer to talk, text or communicate via the web, there seems to be a suitable prepaid monthly cellphone plan available through U.S. Cellular. The unlimited talk package costs $49.00/month (with a $30.00 initial activation fee) and allows subscribers unlimited airtime throughout the month. To send text and picture messages will still cost $0.25/message, unless subscribers purchase the unlimited talk/text package ($59.00 – with no activation fee) or the unlimited talk, text and web access for $69.00/month (again – no activation fee).
Unlimited plans are also available through U.S. Cellular for subscribers who solely use their cellphone for texting ($24.95/month), text and picture messaging ($30.00/month) or texting and surfing ($40.00/month) although each of these plans has a $30.00 activation fee and also charges $0.50/minute for airtime used talking on the phone.
Selected cellphones in the U.S. Cellular range are compatible with their “easyedge” mobile browsing service. This service is included in the comprehensive unlimited monthly plan or can be purchased in blocks of 1Mb ($3.00) or as a monthly stand alone add-on ($4.99) for pay-as-you-go subscribers. This service also gives access to the downloads section of the U.S. Cellular cellphone site from which subscribers can add wallpaper, ringtones, games and other apps from just $1.99/item. There is also a GPS navigation application available for $2.99/day (or $9.99/month) and a free conversion facility to allow non-compatible U.S. Cellular cellphones access to the GPS service.
U.S. Cellular International
Direct dialling to overseas destinations is available for subscribers to all U.S. Cellular prepaid cellphone plans. Rates vary according to which of the 200 countries the subscriber is dialling, however most calls will cost $0.50/minute or $1.25/minute plus airtime (Canada $0.19/minute – Mexico $0.25/minute). International text messages are charged at the same rate as domestic messages via a limited number of overseas carriers, however not included in unlimited text plans.
Cellphone refill options include visiting one of the many U.S. Cellular stores or authorized retails agents where subscribers are able to top-up from just $5.00. There is an instant refill option available from cellphones or subscribers can establish a monthly auto-fill payment plan. There is also an auto-fill option for pay-as-you-go subscribers, who can set up a program to automatically add $10.00 to their account whenever their balance falls below a predetermined level.
U.S. Cellular have an extensive knowledge database on their web site, however for subscribers with more advanced queries, customer support is available free of charge from U.S Cellular cellphones, or there is a toll-free landline service and email facility.
Prepaid Cell Phones.net Rating. Despite the convenience factor enjoyed by U.S. Cellular subscribers and the company´s award-wining customer service, the payment structures for the pay-as-you-go and monthly prepaid cellphone plans give the impression that the company only want to provide the fully inclusive comprehensive package – which is up to 40% more expensive than other carriers. So many of the options available to U.S. Cellular contracted clients do not appear in the prepaid plans (no nights and weekends discounts, no mobile-to-mobile option, no family plans and not even the military discount offered to contracted subscribers serving in the Armed Forces) and it makes one wonder if U.S. Cellular wants to offer a prepaid service at all!