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Best Cell-Phone Service: Oh signal bars most merciful ... 

Cingular

Used to be cell-phone service arguments among customers got as heated as Giants vs. A's debates. Nowadays, thanks to massive mergers, tower takeovers, and loopy pricing schemes, providers have all but blended into one pot. It's a tough call to pick the unabashed best. But best we found. On consumer Web sites like CellReception.com, people kvetch over static-filled service and local dead spots. Of the 5300 block of College Avenue, for instance, one anonymous customer posted, "Verizon reception for this part of College Ave. is between poor and none." An Alameda resident wrote, "So far I've found that in the middle of the San Francisco Bay, Nextel sucks, Sprint sucks, Verizon sucks, and T-Mobile sucks." Only Cingular managed to consistently avoid the wrath of the masses. Even in Walnut Creek, where towers are famously sparse, Cingular's communication beams manage to make their way to customers.

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(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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