Verizon lauded by Consumer Reports: Only LTE earns AT&T approval

Verizon's cellphone service has come out top of the pack for major US carriers, with sterling 4G performance the only thing to rescue AT&T from poor ratings across the board. Based on a survey of more than 63,000 subscribers by Consumer Reports, the feedback praised Verizon for its voice and data quality, the knowledge of staff, and how promptly issues were resolved.

In contrast, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint were all given "middling to low marks" in those categories, with voice and text service judged to be particularly disappointing.

However, while Verizon may have got to LTE first, it isn't deemed the best 4G offering of all the networks. "[AT&T] users reported the fewest problems with that higher-speed service, which most new smart phones now use" Consumer Reports concludes.

It's prepaid service which gets the biggest nod, however, with Consumer Reports recommending several no-frills and/or regional providers for the individual or family that wants the most for their dollar. US Cellular takes the top recommendation, with Credo Mobile in second place; if you're not in the coverage of either, Verizon is in third place.

In fact, the organization found, the majority of those who jumped from contract to prepaid made a monthly saving. Two-thirds saved more than $20 per month, helping offset the higher upfront cost of the device.