As a general rule, the national mobile carriers all leave something to be desired. Even on their best day, it seems like there is one complaint or another, often surrounding what seems like a growing indifference to what the customer needs or wants from their services.

Well for those who believe that choice and competition are dead in this arena, consider this. Much like those old dial-up ISPs that simply refuse to die, there are a number of highly localized mobile carriers still in existence that might very well be able to provide you with the kind of alternative you’ve been looking for.

This article highlights ten of them and what each of the featured have to offer. Another interesting twist is, much like shopping at a farmer’s market, you are choosing to support freedom of choice. Rather than taking the “Walmart” approach to mobile communications, you vote via your pocketbook that you are opting out from the big national carriers and the hassles they pass on to each of us.

While there are big downsides to trying to roam (remember roaming costs?) when using a smaller carrier, there are also some significant benefits. Take my old home state of Alaska for example. As pointed out here, this state is more like another country than a state. But when facing $20 per month for tethering charges vs. the national carrier rate of  $60 or so, it’s becomes clear that sometimes shopping around pays off big time. You will also notice that it’s Android powering the phones offered by these alternative providers. No iPhone here. And depending on where you stand, this might be seen as a good thing.

Considering how little traveling I do myself, I am actually going to be looking at giving a local carrier (small carrier) a chance for my business simply because I’d rather support local jobs and local business, than some faceless national company that generally treats their customers only slightly better than gum on the bottom of a shoe. But that is going to be sometime down the road, and this is not really an option for everyone, either.

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