Cell Phone and Internet Service in New York City

Cell phone tower graphic

Verizon is the most popular cell service provider in New York City, with a solid reputation for signal reception. Wait until you get to New York to subscribe—or ask if Verizon will switch your number for free if you subscribe before you go—so you can get a New York telephone number, less confusing to employers reviewing your resume. Friends of this author who used Verizon reported great reception, even inside buildings.

If you wish to compare pricing plans with other providers, I recommend subscribing for a month to Consumer Reports to access the latest reviews on cell phones and service providers. In 2012, Consumer Reports ranked cell phone voice, text and data service providers in the following order of preference for both the cities of New York and Los Angeles, where most apparel jobs are located:

  1. Verizon (very good to good)
  2. Sprint (good)
  3. T-Mobile (fair)
  4. AT&T (fair to poor)

Ratings differ for other cities in the United States, and ratings may change slightly from year to year, although Verizon has been the leader in New York and Los Angeles for many years in a row. T-Mobile plans offer good pricing, but you may often wish for better reception in New York inside buildings and outside around skyscrapers where dead spots were not uncommon as recently as my experience with the service in 2008. Remember that reception with Verizon will be reliable around New York City in places where the other providers' may not be. Again, try to get a New York phone number from whichever provider you choose. No-contract cell service is becoming more popular, and Walmart is a good place to start researching those options.

Internet access is essential for survival in New York, and don’t plan on using your employer’s computer. You may need to job hunt while still employed as well as negotiate other essentials away from work such as housing and social events. If you are relying solely on a phone for Internet access, make sure you can supply your resume and electronic portfolio via your phone. If you choose a portable computer and plan to take it around town for access to hotspots, choose a small one. Every ounce you carry makes a difference in this city where walking is several miles a day is a part of the average person's transportation system. Another option in addition to using hotspots around the city is splitting the cost of an Internet service subscription among roommates.