US Cellular Review

article by Rebecca S. author April 05, 2017
our score
US Cellular’s extremely limited native network coverage is a major downside for most consumers. While the company tries to compensate for this with some other good features and device selection, there is no way to substitute for quality connectivity.
pros
  • Large range of devices available for purchase
  • Alert system tells you when you are about to exceed data limits
  • Certified pre-owned options makes getting a high-end phone more affordable
  • Phone insurance plans available
  • Good prepaid phone plan options
cons
  • Limited number of towers around the country
  • Plan pricing similar to carriers with better network coverage
  • High early termination fees
US Cellular has some great options to help you purchase a great device and protect it against theft and damage.
Rebecca S., author
File Sharing No Monthly Connection Charges
Licence Duration No ETF for Service Contract
Free Trial No Hidden Fees
Multiple Logins Save More With Each Phone You Add
CountriesAvailable Roaming Included
$ 50 /mo
  • 2 GB Data Plan
  • Unlimited Domestic Calls & Text
  • No activation fees or upgrade fees
Order Now >>
MOST POPULAR
6 GB Order Now >>
$ 60 /mo
  • 6 GB Data Plan
  • Unlimited Domestic Calls & Text
  • No Activation Fees or Upgrade Fees
Order Now >>
UNLIMITED Order Now >>
$ 70 /mo
  • Unlimited Data Plan
  • Unlimited Domestic Calls & Text
  • No Activation Fees or Upgrade Fees
Order Now >>

The limited network coverage might be excusable if there were some really steep discounts offered on service, but that isn’t the case. Their price points for cell phone plans are on par with other carriers.

Coverage and Quality

Unlike the major US carriers, US Cellular leaves wide swaths of the country completely unserviced. In fact, there are entire states where you won’t be able to get coverage 4G data speeds at all. Although it does try to expand coverage a little bit via partnerships for 3G data, there’s no escaping the fact that US Cellular is only a viable option in very few areas of the country.

features Features

US Cellular family plans offer unlimited talk, text, and data for $55 per line for two lines, $50 per line for three lines, or $40 per line for four lines. Lower income individuals can take advantage of the Lifeline Plan, which is a federal government benefit plan with 1,000 voice minutes starting at $15/mo for 500MB of data or $25/mo for 2GB.

For a limited time, customers switching to US Cellular can get up to $650 in rebates. Check their website for more details.

Additional Fees

There are no overage charges for exceeding your data limit, and you can enable overage notifications that will alert you when you have used 75% or 100% of your monthly allotment. If you exceed your data limit, your connection speed might be slowed. There are also no charges for domestic roaming, although you are still subject to having your data speeds slowed down if you exceed your data limit while roaming.

If you want to terminate a two-year contract early to go after cell phone plan deals elsewhere, you will have to pay a $150 early termination fee for basic phones, and a $350 fee for smartphones and tablets.

After purchasing a device, there is a 15 day window during which you can return it for a refund. However, doing so will incur a $35 restocking fee.

In addition, there is a $40 activation fee for connecting tablets to the network.

Phone Selection

A large selection of phones are available for all price points. At the top end of the smartphone spectrum is the iPhone 7 Plus, which you can get for $19.96/mo over the course of 30 months. If you are looking for the Samsung Galaxy S7, you can get it for $17.40/mo over 30 months. A lower end smartphones such as the Kyocera DuraForce will set you back $12/mo for 30 months, while the LG G4 goes for $5.32/mo for 30 months. It should also be mentioned that these prices can change if you are willing to pay the phone off faster.

If you just need a basic phone, you can get a flip phone like the Envoy III for just $3.25/mo for twenty-four months.

US Cellular also regularly runs deals that are exclusive to its website, so make sure to check back often for updates.

Available Plans (including price)

US Cellular boasts that its best cell phone plans come without any connection charges, overage charges, activation fees or early termination fees. A one line plan starts at $50/mo for unlimited talk and text with 2GB of data. You can up the data allotment to 6GB for $60/mo, or get unlimited data for $70/mo.

Prepaid options start at $35/mo for unlimited talk and text with 500MB of high speed data. You can up the data limit to 3GB for $45/mo, 6GB for $60/mo, or 12GB for $75/mo.

Support

For a smaller carrier than larger national options, US Cellular does a good job of providing excellent customer service. Answers to the most common questions can be found on the company’s website. If you have a more complicated problem and need to talk to a representative, you can use the phone or email options to get in touch with a live person.

Bottom Line Conclusion

The biggest problem with US Cellular is the huge holes that exist in its network coverage. Although the company makes an effort to provide service to as many people as possible, it’s still a problem when you only have a few cell towers scattered around the country. This state of affairs might be acceptable if the company was offering some of the cheapest cell phone plans on the market, but that simply isn’t the case. You’ll find mostly comparable – if not more expensive – options than what’s out there from larger national competitors.