Paul Williams
Paul Williams

March 23, 2018

The readers of PC Magazine named Google’s Project Fi as the most popular wireless network according to the magazine’s 2018 Readers Choice Awards. Actually, the Google network tied with Consumer Cellular, who regularly ranks at the top of the PCMag survey. Bringing up the rear are some of the biggest players in the industry, including AT&T, Sprint, Verizon Wireless, and Virgin Mobile.


Project Fi may be a worthy wireless option for you. Logo copyright Google.

Let’s dive into the details on the PCMag survey. Perhaps a few conclusions lurk within their carrier ratings?

The Customer matters when it comes to Wireless Service

It is important to note that both winners of the PCMag Readers Choice Award – Project Fi and Consumer Cellular – don’t actually own a wireless network. Instead, they piggyback on the networks provided by other carriers. In the case of Fi, they partner with three — Sprint, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular — ensuring great customer service no matter their location in the United States.

As such, the PC Magazine awards measure customer satisfaction as opposed to the actual speed and quality of the network. Although, those factors definitely influence consumer happiness. Project Fi’s recent introduction of their Bill Protection unlimited data plan likely contributes to this goodwill from their users.

The Details behind PCMag’s Wireless Carrier Ratings

Both Project Fi and Consumer Cellular earned customer satisfaction and “likelihood to recommend” ratings over 9.0 from PC Magazine’s readers. They are the only carriers in the survey with ratings that high. Considering Consumer Cellular focuses on elderly customers by offering an AARP discount, Fi remains the leading wireless provider among the consumers of all ages.

One interesting artifact from the survey is Consumer Cellular received the highest ratings for the fewest dropped phone calls, data usage speed, and network reliability. These all rank higher than the carriers – AT&T and T-Mobile – Consumer Cellular uses for network access. Project Fi enjoyed the highest rating for overall cost, while Verizon and AT&T ranked at the bottom in that metric.

Project Fi topped the rankings when it comes to local coverage. In fact, the only flaw the survey respondents found with Fi is the relative lack of smartphone choice. The service’s sim card naturally supports Google Pixel XL smartphones as well as one model from Motorola, the Moto X4. Interested iPhone users simply need to choose a phone plan from a different wireless carrier.

When it comes to the four largest American wireless carriers, T-Mobile garners the highest overall satisfaction rating at 8.4. As noted earlier, Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint rank at the bottom of the list. PC Magazine also notes that T-Mobile’s ratings continue to trend upwards.

If you are interested in exploring a different wireless carrier, be sure to explore the PCMag ratings in more detail. Stay tuned to Bandwidth Place for additional insights on how to get the most out of your Internet service – wired, wi-fi, or mobile.

Paul Williams
Paul Williams

Paul Williams brings a wide range of experiences to his writing. He worked extensively in technology, as a software engineer, technical writer, and now a technology writer. Known as the leader of one of the top American Spacerock bands, his forward-looking music continues to be heard all over the world.