Welcome to Drako's Wireless Review. We are a wireless review, news, and comparison site owned and operated by Drako's Website Services. We are a website designed to empower customers to make better informed decisions before making their upgrade or new cellular purchases. As such, we are merely a central point of information that is publicly available across the internet. We utilize the resources provided by the carriers own websites, other wireless review and news sites, and wireless information sites such as the following:
Those with low income or who get Government Assistance may want to consider a Lifeline Program Carrier.
Note: We tend to update this website 1-2 times a year, so some information may be outdated. However, we do encourage carriers to contact us to help us get updates on the site faster.
We understand there are many choices for customers within the wireless industry. In that regard, heres a few things customers should consider when choosing their next wireless phone and service provider.
If you live in an area where a regional provider is offering service and coverage and do not travel much, then that regional provider may be your best choice. It has been proven that regional providers can offer better coverage and services in the smaller regional areas the carrier provides service for. Many regional carriers are now just considered smaller carriers then the "Big 4" national carriers. This is because they tend to now offer nationwide service using roaming/MVNO type agreements with national carriers. Some regional carriers attempt to offer their services on the national level, where others focus mainly on offering service to customers within their region.
A big issue is coverage, and for those that are covered by regional providers, the paragraph above is fully correct. Regional providers will offer better coverage and services to customers who live in the smaller regional areas in which the providers exist. However, national providers are better for customers who travel across the nation, or around the world. In some cases, you can only get service from a National Carrier (now known as the Big 4). National Carriers now offer coverage to at least 90% (typically 98-99%) of the US Population, giving you coverage nearly everywhere. The only differences is quality of service in each area, which may include small areas where one provider works and another does not.
Note: There is now an average of 1-10% difference in coverage between National Carriers. Meaning you could be paying way too much for your wireless service, when you could be getting similar service (or better) for much less money.
PrePaid vs PostPaid
While there are still carriers that enforce 2 year contracts, the primary difference between Pre-Paid and PostPaid Service is how the bill works out. On pre-paid, you pay for the service before using it, which means there are no surprise costs to using your service. PostPaid bills you after the end of each month, which can include additional costs that you accrued from usage. Many pre-paid services do not require any contracts or credit checks, and can offer better rates.
Some post paid services lock customers in with 2+ year contracts, making it difficult to switch if one finds a service that offers better coverage and/or rates. Others offer other incentives to keep customers locked in for at least 18 months or longer. These programs include leasing devices out and lease / trade in programs. (Essentially making it so that the carrier, not the customer, owns the device at least until the lease is paid off.)
Plans and offerings
On the national level, the rate plans are all about the same. Each carrier now has "Unlimited" plan offerings. Many of which actually do have limitation and differing price points. Some of these plans may have additional freebies, like T-Mobile Tuesdays, Netflix, Hulu, ect.
MVNO's are providers that use National/Regional Carriers' networks, without having to build/maintain these networks themselves. Many of these MVNO's tend to have lower costs due to this, which could lead to them offering lower prices for plans to their customers. You may get a better deal through an MVNO, as long as you are not concerned about de-prioritization, which could mean slower data when the network is congested.
If you plan on calling to other countries, maybe you should see which providers in your area offer calling to the country you would be calling to, and who has the lowest rates. If you travel overseas, some providers offer coverage in more countries. However, it is not a bad idea to see which providers in your home area offer international roaming to your destination country, along with finding a provider with the lowest international roaming rates.
If you have landline or home internet service, you may want to consider using them for your wireless service as well. There are landline/ISP services that offer wireless services alongside. Having one provider for both services could save you some money, and will allow you to pay off both services with one bill.
The ability to go to a local store to buy your phones and/or get service may be a priority and a deciding factor as to whether or not to choose a provider. This is especially true if you prefer being able to see/handle a device before buying it, or if you may need extra assistance with your device. Stores also provide a convenient location to get service, change devices, get repairs, and to pay your bill. However, stores cost money to operate, so rates may be higher and services may incur additional charges - like Activation Fees.
On the other hand, some carriers may not have any physical store locations. These store locations do increase the costs of operation. Many of these carriers only offer their services and devices online, some even do not offer any of their own devices. Usually, these carriers can offer better plan rates because everything is done online or over the phone.
Another thing we should stress is that having a store near you does not guarantee that the service will work where you use the device the most. We have seen national carriers have stores in "trouble areas" in the past that required they use in-store repeaters, or a device that creates a cellular signal from the LAN in the store, to service the devices inside. The only exception to this norm would be in the case of a Regional Carrier. If a regional carrier has a store close to you, then they could provide better service than a national carrier that may also have a store near you.
Another factor is your employer. Some employers offer discounts on service with a certain provider. If you want that discount, you gotta chose your employers provider. Employers may also offer employee plans on certain providers, or issue phones to employees at the employers expense. If you work at a retail store that sells wireless service, you may more likely buy the service you sell for the reasons above or other reasons. Those other reasons may also include ease of access to phones, plans/minutes, and/or a decent knowledge of the services you sell-and how they may benefit you over other providers.
Device and Features
Another deciding point is what you want your phone to do. Want to send messages or watch video or TV? Want to download music. Which phone can you see yourself using that has the features you want it to have? That phone might help decide your provider as well. Find the phone that fits your style and does what you want it to, and you're set.
While many providers allow you to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), please note that devices created for one carrier may not work well (or at all) with another. While carriers may have standardized their technology, the bands used by each provider are largely incompatible. Even some "unlocked" phones are unable to fully support all carriers, leaving actual coverage with said device to become a guessing game. Even some iPhones have issues providing full network support. (Might work great on Verizon, but not as well on AT&T or T-Mobile and Vice Versa.)
The primary reason is that much of the bands used are different even if on the same frequencies between providers.
Currently these are the frequencies most commonly used by all carriers:
700 MHz (4G)
1900 Mhz (3G, 4G)
Higher Frequencies tend to have lower range and ability to penetrate walls.
We here at Drako's Wireless Review do take efforts to help customers find the best deal in Paid Wireless Service while allowing customers see the coverage differences between carriers.
(To date, most national carriers are within 1% of coverage difference with us only able to confirm that difference may be only as big as 10%)
With that in mind, we do not officially review Regional Carriers or Lifeline Program Carriers.
However, for those who qualify, you may get the best deal with a Lifeline Program Carrier.
What is a Lifeline Program Carrier?
These are carriers that receive money from the Federal Government to offer FREE phone service to people who qualify. These carriers may have various limits on service, so we linked to a list of them so you may compare the offerings and the areas each carrier serve.
You may qualify for Lifeline (FREE) Service if:
You already receive government benefit programs:
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Federal Public Housing Assistance
Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
Tribally-Administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TTANF)
Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)
Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit Programs
If you have income at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (Low Income)
If you think you Qualify and would like to signup for FREE Phone Service:
Click here to see the list of Lifeline Service Providers.
We do attempt to keep this site updated at least once a year, and do want to make sure all information is as correct as it can be. Sifting through lots of records can be difficult and can lead to errors in some of the information on this site.
If you represent a carrier, and notice that some information is incorrect, we encourage you to contact us with the correct information. We will be more than happy to update the site with correct information as it becomes available to us and can be verified. (Links to web pages with the information will help us verify this.)
We would rather work with carriers to keep information on the site as correct as possible, so carriers may use the form below to correct any information on the site itself.
Note: We do not censor any user submitted reviews/discussions on the Forums and will never remove them. These are the actual accounts of your own customers, and you should work with them to resolve any issues they may have. We do encourage you to also setup an account on our Forums and respond directly to your customers, so that all site visitors can see that you do truly care about your customers.
In all due respects, Drako's Wireless Review can be classified as a resource center, or wireless news site. This is due to the fact that we merely gather and post information about the wireless services here. Drako's Wireless Review carries no affiliation with any of the carriers, and tends to remain an unbiased information center. Our official reviews are only to present which carrier can offer the most at any given time. The reviews can contain any and all information pertaining to the carriers, whether good or bad. The only official documents will be those available on each Carrier's own website, therefore there is no carrier official documentation on this site. This also means that, since the information is from public sources, that none of the information can be deemed "internal use only."
Please note this site is merely a site that has put together information from several public resources, allowing users to compare services before they make a purchasing decision. This website is not designed to defame any of the services it presents information about. The official reviews on this site merely compare services and present informational reviews of the services. These reviews can contain the positives and negatives to each carrier, based on the information provided by the carrier, on their own website or press releases. For CDMA carriers, some information may be based on the information on Independent PRL Interpretations, which is a resource that compiles data from publicly available data sources. PRL Interpretations is also not any official documents from any wireless carrier. As with this website, even though we may contain information deemed official through the public posting on the carriers website, the information on this site is not official information from any carrier.
The discussions on this site are rarely moderated, and will contain information posted by the customers of each wireless carrier. The information on the discussions certainly do not reflect the views of the web masters of Drako's Wireless Review.
The information on our site has been compiled from the carriers own websites, public revenue reports, and Phonescoop.com. Drako's Wireless Review does not claim copyright or ownership of any of the information on this site, and we tend to cite our resources rather well.
Information on DWR is from carriers' websites, Revenue Reports, Phonescoop.com, and other public sources. (Which may include Information regarding each carrier on Google)