So then why do we sometimes get no reception in the center of the city?  Kopp says the carriers could be overloaded from too many people or the signals can bounce off buildings and cancel each other out.

"We call it multipath and it can raise havoc in some of the cell networks, particularly when you are moving."

Kopp says before you lock into your next cellphone contract, check coverage maps for your home, your work or your school. Ask which companies work best.

"Talk to your coworkers, talk to your friends, maybe even borrow one of their phones," Kopp told Channel 4.

Consumer Reports keeps close watch on who's the best, doing a satisfaction study this year that surveyed 58,000 people across the United States.

They say right now, the prize goes to Verizon but satisfaction and service are always changing as companies upgrade technology. Chief Electronics Editor Glen Derene says the trend now is going to pre-paid and no-contract. Some of the major carriers are trying it out and so are other subsidiaries like AiO, MetroPCS.

"What really resonates is that their plans are simple, they're straight-forward and people don't feel trapped by them."

A spokeswoman for Sprint responded to our not-so-great findings with this statement:

"Sprint is close to done with building our all-new wireless network and (we) have begun the next phase of deployment for Sprint Spark. Sprint Spark is an enhanced LTE service that's built for wireless broadband data and designed to deliver peak wireless speeds of 60Mbps today on capable devices, with the potential for speeds three times as fast by late next year."

Cellphone towers are listed by the FCC, but the companies for the most part keep their transmitters secret. You can ask the company and you can also go to independent websites that test the carriers for you. You can actually zoom into your exact street.

Helpful links:

cellreception.com
rootmetrics.com/us
antennasearch.com
opensignal.com