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Top rated cell phone services

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.

Consumer Reports asked 90,000 of its subscribers to rate their cell service. They were asked about data, texting, voice, customer service, and whether they got good value for the money. Verizon Wireless, AT&T, and Sprint got 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 data and voice.

Ting customers are billed for the service they use rather than paying a flat rate. The company uses the Sprint and T-Mobile networks. It offers a variety of phones, including the Samsung Galaxy S6 and the Apple iPhone 6s, and 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 and offers combo text, talk, and data plans for as little as $25 per month.

Consumer Reports’ survey was conducted before Sprint’s recent announcement that it was cutting prices. However, Sprint also got relatively low scores for voice and data.

In addition, Consumer Reports surveyed people who use a prepaid phone service. Among the best liked are Republic Wireless, Cricket and Page Plus Cellular.