T-Mobile wins with in-store assistance that (despite a rush-hour wait of 45 minutes) answered all our questions and the best web support in the bunch, thanks to speedy helpful tech support and easy online email setup for BlackBerry phones.
Our experience with Sprint in-store was helpful too. Though in-store employees couldn't answer all our questions, they were organized and considerate each step of the way and we appreciated how organized each store was, with LCD screens representing our queue positions. Also, one store employee helped us before it was even our turn.
Verizon Wireless offered solid in-store support, but employees weren't as friendly as those in other stores. It has a robust online database with answers to many questions, including interactive phone guides, but does not offer online chat support. Verizon also offered quick and accurate phone support.
AT&T lands last in our tests. Our in-store experience left us with one question out of three unanswered and we were shocked that one representative couldn't help get our email up and running (though another rep at a different store was successful). Our trial of AT&T's web support turned up similar results when one online associate told us they don't support Slacker software, and one of our phone support calls lasted 45 minutes without resolving the last of our issues.
Overall our showdown shows that given the variance in knowledgefrom employee to employee, you may want to take some comments made by reps with a grain of salt, or, at least, make a habit of seeking out a second opinion. Still, T-Mobile takes the kitty with the best web and phone support of the big four. AT&T, on the other hand,might have some work to doin prepping for next year.