NEW YORK -- The myth: You're getting five bars on your cell phone, so you're getting good service, right? The reality: It's way more complicated than that. The answer to a very simple question -- "What's the best cell phone carrier in my area?" -- depends on a tangled web of factors, including the network's download speed, response time, signal strength, and the number of cell towers in your area. You'll feel the effects of those factors. You'll notice the network's speed and stability when you browse the Web, download apps, stream music or buffer streaming video.