If you’re looking to start up new cell phone service in the US, there are dozens of choices. If you want a big-named, nationwide carrier though, that cuts the field down to four options: Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile.

You can narrow it down even further if you want an iPhone. Currently, only the top three carriers properly support Apple’s handset. And if you’re looking for the company with the best customer service, there’s only one…

Popular marketing research firm J.D. Power and Associates has named Verizon Wireless the #1 carrier in the US, in terms of customer service. This is actually Verizon’s third time to land in the top spot.

The firm came to this conclusion based on how well a company scores in three areas of customer service: telephone, walk-in (retail store), and online. The study measures satisfaction and processing issues in each contact channel, such as the efficiency of problem resolutions and duration of hold times, and produces a final score on a scale of 1-1000 (1000 obviously being the best).

From J.D. Power’s press release:

“Verizon Wireless ranks highest in wireless customer care performance among full-service carriers with an overall score of 771. Verizon Wireless performs particularly well in phone contacts that originate in the automatic response system (ARS) channel are then transferred to a live customer service representative (CSR), and in phone class made directly to a CSR)”

Interestingly enough, Sprint came in just a few points behind Verizon with a score of 764. AT&T and T-Mobile, however, scored below the national average for full-service carriers.

With Apple expected to unveil a new LTE-compatible smartphone in a few months, there’s already been a lot of talk of folks switching from AT&T to either Verizon, for the size of its 4G network, or Sprint, for its unlimited data plan. And something like this may just be enough to get them to jump ship.

What are your wireless plans for the fall?

[CNET]