WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- Tech is hot again this year. Retailers estimate about one-in-three holiday shoppers will buy electronics this year, and a lot of folks will be wrapping up smart phones and putting them under the tree.
But you need to have good cell phone service to go along with that new phone. Consumer Reports recently surveyed more than 63,000 smartphone users about their service providers. The top overall pick for smartphones among the major carriers -- Verizon, followed by Sprint and T-Mobile.
There's a big caveat: For devices with 4G capability, users seemed to fare best with AT&T.
If the whole family is getting a smartphone or tablet this holiday season, consider a shared plan. In the Consumer Reports survey, US Cellular is on top in this category.
According to the survey, the average American household spent more than $1500 on their smartphones and smartphone service in 2012. For some users, it was twice as much.
With unlmited data plans a thing of the past for most carriers, smartphone users can get in the habit of trimming data usage and their bills by using wi-fi for:
- video streams
- video calls
- video uploads
- music streams
Consumer Reports says a prepaid phone plan can be a smart way to save. Two-thirds of folks who switched to a prepaid service knocked $20 or more off their monthly cell service costs.