US Cellular Logo
star star star_border star_border star_border

2.7

Overall Score

LAST UPDATED: September 27th, 2022

US Cellular is a regional cellphone carrier with the fifth-largest wireless cellphone and data network in the United States, behind Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile. The provider has over 4 million customers in 426 markets in twenty-six states. When a customer wants to use their phone service outside of their home area, the service is “handed off” to another carrier. 

Top Ranked Companies

Q Link Wireless Logo
#1 Q Link Wireless chevron_right
6.9 Overall Score
4.0
star star star star star_border
(2,196)
AT&T Logo
#3 AT&T chevron_right
5.9 Overall Score
3.7
star star star star_half star_border
(1,450)
thumb_up

The Good

  • Wide Array of Phones Available
  • Cell Phone Plan Options
  • Coverage Area Networks 
  • Customer Service
  • Rebates & Rewards

Wide Array of Phones Available

There are many good things about US Cellular's products and services, starting with the availability of a wide array of phones. The carrier supports and sells iPhones, Android smartphones, Windows phones, and Blackberry products.

Us Cellular also offers iPads, Android tablets, cellular modems for laptop computers, and accessories that can be used on the road.

Cell Phone Plan Options

US Cellular has several different plans and services available for customers. The company's Shared Connect plan forms the core of its contract services. We like the simplicity of Shared Connect, which includes unlimited minutes and texting. With non-contract phones and some other contract carriers, the user is often strapped to a certain number of minutes or text messages if they go with a "lower" service level. 

US Cellular offers several different features that go along with contract phone service. For example, there is overage protection, which is free. However, the overage protection is in the form of a text message that is sent to the customer.

US Cellular also offers no-contract phones, tablets with data connectivity, and other services. 

Coverage Area Networks 

US Cellular's "Shared Connect" and 4G LTE plans work in all fifty states. You can go outside of your "home" area and still enjoy great service without being subject to roaming charges. This is an important feature for those who want to use their phone while they are on the road.

Customer Service

US Cellular offers phone, email, and live chat support options. 

Rebates & Rewards

US Cellular occasionally offers rebates as an incentive to purchase a phone or plan. The company also has a good rewards program that involves referring customers or attending device workshops to earn points. These points can be used towards phone upgrades and accessory purchases. 

thumb_down

The Bad

  • Service Area Stipulation 
  • Two-Year Contracts
  • Cancellation Fees
  • Data Price Scale

Service Area Stipulation 

Included in the fine print is a service area stipulation. US Cellular reserves the right to terminate a client's contract if they use 50% of their coverage outside of their "home area." This is because US Cellular brokers some of its coverage from other network providers. We felt like this is not true nationwide coverage.

Two-Year Contracts

US Cellular offers two-year contracts on most of its basic and smartphones. The smartphones are subject to a heavy cancellation fee in order to ensure that the customer keeps the phone. US Cellular also offers "penny" phones, the most basic of phones for the user that wants to keep their service simple.

Cancellation Fees

Cancellation fees for contract phones with US Cellular are on the pricey side. Basic phone contracts come with a $150 cancellation fee and smartphones come with a $350 cancellation fee. We felt that this cancellation fee policy straps the customer into a contract for a long period of time.

However, if a contract is a concern for a customer, there are "no-contract" options available.

Data Price Scale

Another thing that isn't ideal is the exponential price scale for higher-level data plans. The recommended data plans on Shared Connect often lock a family into a higher-end service level, but ensure that the family does not go over their data limit. There are also options on the phone that allow a parent or a decision maker to "lock" the data if they find that one particular line is being abused.

Customer Complaints

Some customers have reported issues with billing as well as promised discounts that were not honored. Overall, US Cellular generally responds to customer complaints reasonably and fairly, making sure that the customer receives credit when necessary if billing issues arise.

gavel

The Bottom Line

US Cellular has some good qualities and some bad ones. Ultimately, we hesitantly recommend US Cellular under certain conditions and after reading the terms and services carefully to avoid expensive fees. In order to avoid having your contract canceled, you need to monitor your usage closely and primarily stay in your home area. 

View Best Cell Phone Providers

Was this content helpful?
thumb_up Yes thumb_down No

Star Rating

2.2

star star star_border star_border star_border

76 Reviews

Review Breakdown

5 grade

16%

4 grade

9%

3 grade

13%

2 grade

5%

1 grade

57%

Sentiment Criteria

Value

star star star_half star_border star_border

Quality

star star star_half star_border star_border

Service

star star star_half star_border star_border

Trustworthiness

star star star_half star_border star_border
cancel

Filter by:

arrow_drop_down

Sort by:

arrow_drop_down
info
star star star_border star_border star_border

Tim Duncan Knoxville, TN

I live very very close to TDS in Farragut, TN (i.e., west Knoxville) that spun off US Cellular back in the 90s. I do not get a good call signal at my house with only 1 bar. One would think the area where they started would have the best coverage and yes, I use WiFi calling. Next, I used my phone inurance to get the same exact phone, Samsung 20+5G, because the battery life was decreasing. I took my new and old phone into the store and the guy screwed it up six ways from Sunday. He didn't think to use the Samsung Smart Switch function. WOW!!! He DID NOT know what he was doing. Don't buy anything in the store either. The Samsung Galaxy Watch4 Aluminum Smartwatch 44mm is $329.99, while Best Buy has the EXACT same watch for $229.99. I'm sorry, but that is a ridiculous difference!!! That's not looking out for their customers, but ripping them off.

5 months ago

star star star_border star_border star_border

Rachel East Peoria, IL

The service is horrible in Chicago! Cuts in and out all the time and drops calls! Also, when I signed up I was receiving a 39% discount for being a school employee. This month I received a bill and it was $40 higher than normal. I called the company and asked why I did not receive the discount any longer and they gave me an email address for the company to email my issue to. When I received a return email it requested I go to a link where I needed to sign up my school for an E Bates offer, which was not helpful. The most irritating part is that there was no notification that my discount was going to be discontinued. I just received a larger bill!

4 years ago

check_circle

Review Source

star star star_border star_border star_border

Bella Houtz South Jordan, UT

I had US Cellular and I did not have the best luck. The coverage was poor and I could not get the billing correct. They did always try to help me with billing but I never felt like it was right.

4 years ago

star star star_border star_border star_border

Jm Sun Prairie, WI

What is fair about their plans when current customers do not get the same value. Just marketing license to mislead.

2 years ago