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Real-world cost estimates
1: Light use (30 minutes): $41.99

2: Moderate use (three hours): $41.99

When Cell Phones Go Bad
How to Make the Right Call on Service
_____Service Details_____
Cingular Wireless
Sprint PCS
Verizon Wireless
_____Direct Comparisons_____
'Real World' Costs
Fine Print
Messaging and Web Options
Reviewer's Notes
_____About This Guide_____
For explanations of what plans we list, how the coverage maps were created, and what the "real world cost" categories mean, click here.

3: Heavy use (eight hours): $47.99

4: Land-line replacement (20 hours): $57.99

5: Chatty couple (six hours, two phones): $58.99

Nextel continued its unlikely streak, delivering perfect coverage at each location for the second year in a row -- even with a change of test locations. Nextel's service, however, remains on the pricey side, and if you stray from its network, there's no roaming option.

-- John Breeden II

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