There has been a great explosion of available pay-as-you-go options available in the cell phone market of the United States. Each of these programs has their benefits and drawbacks, and they are all designed to fit a certain communication niche. By comparing all of their features, positives, and negatives, you will be able to select the best pay-as-you-go program for your communication and budgetary needs. In this review, we will be comparing the major pay-as-you-go providers in the United States, which are ALLTEL, Virgin Mobile, Helio, and Boost Mobile.

Reception: From a comprehensive viewpoint, Virgin Mobile has the best reception in the areas it serves. ALLTEL has superb reception, but it only serves 35 states. Both Boost Mobile and Helio lease Sprint/NEXTEL’s lines, and therefore, they have the same level of reception quality.

National coverage: Because Boost Mobile and Helio lease Sprint/NEXTEL’s carrier towers, they have the fullest national coverage. Virgin Mobile comes in next with its national coverage that is limited to its own carrier; it has no ability to pick up roaming signals from other companies. Lastly, ALLTEL has the most limited national coverage because it only serves 35 states.

Available technology: Helio’s reputation is based upon its high-tech phones and plans; with specific technology plans with unlimited text messaging and data transfer, Helio has a broad range of technology and related services. ALLTEL and Boost Mobile have phones with decent technology, and although Virgin Mobile has the widest array of phones, its product offering has less technologically advanced because they do not offer data transfer.

Call quality: In areas where there is reception, all four carriers offer excellent call quality and sound.

Customer service: Virgin Mobile has built its reputation upon stellar customer service, with ALLTEL following closely behind. Helio’s customer service is decent and effective, but it is not superb. However, Boost Mobile has a terrible reputation for customer service, with most clients walking away unhappy.

Variety of phones available: Virgin Mobile has the largest selection of phones, though their phones may be technologically weak in comparison to other carriers. Helio has not only a great selection of phones, but also the most technologically advanced ones. ALLTEL and Boost Mobile both have a decent product selection of their available phones.

Rates: As all of these companies offer pay-as-you-go service, their rates are very competitive and comparable. Virgin Mobile has the cheapest starting package, but there is not a significant difference in their rates for average phone usage.

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