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Consumer Reports Mag.: “Sprint has pulled even in overall satisfaction with Verizon”

December 9, 2010

Not only do we get a plug here for Sprint, but also for prepaid:

  • “Consumer Reports said ‘Sprint has pulled even in overall satisfaction with Verizon’ …”
  • “Users who skipped contract plans tended to have fewer complaints about their service.”

Compare these stories to the J.D. Power Rankings released in Sept., and you’ve got a lot of consistent data.

Red highlights are mine.
JC

http://sprintconnection.kansascity.com/?q=node/1645

Nice iPhone, AT&T, but Consumer Reports isn’t wild about your service
by Scott Canon
December 6, 2010

A survey of 58,000 ConsumerReports.org subscribers gave AT&T poor and falling marks in customer service. Sprint, meantime, pulled even in overall service with industry-leading Verizon. T-Mobile was close behind.

And while AT&T’s exclusive deal on the iPhone has been critical in drawing and retaining customers who want their smart phone Cupertino-certified, it was AT&T’s Apple iPhone customers who griped most about the carrier’s data network.

AT&T is now the worst carrier,” the January edition of Consumer Reports magazine concludes. “AT&T is now positioned in last place overall and in almost every market we rate.”

While AT&T was dropping, the difference between other wireless carriers was narrowing, the magazine said.

“Verizon Wireless is no longer the clear top dog in overall satisfaction with our subscribers,” the article says.

Rather, the magazine said its readers were most satisfied with was U.S. Cellular, which still serves just 26 states and was new to the Consumer Reports ratings.

At the same time, Consumer Reports said “Sprint has pulled even in overall satisfaction with Verizon, and T-Mobile is close behind.”

Customer service and spotty coverage areas had been part of what had dogged Sprint in recent years. Consumer Reports’ assessment suggests the company has made a liability into a strength.

It grouped Sprint alongside Verizon under its suggestion of “best choice overall for most people” among the carriers.

“These are the highest-scoring nationally available carriers for contract service. Verizon Wireless has an edge in voice service overall,” the magazine said. “Sprint scored better in some aspects of customer service, which is a remarkable turnaround from past years when that was a weak point for the company.”

It named U.S. Cellular the best regional carrier.

And for the Kansas City market, where Consumer Reports readers could be expressing some loyalty to the hometown company, Sprint edged out Verizon for the top scores.

The report also suggested that the iPhone edge is fading, with the explosion of smart phones running on Google’s Android operating system, including the HTC Evo and the Samsung Epic running on Sprint’s broadband-like 4G network, and Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 7.

Users who skipped contract plans tended to have fewer complaints about their service, the magazine said, although they also use their phones less. It suggested shoppers study their usage to find the best plan for their money.

Addendum: AT&T issued the following statement Monday:
We take this seriously and we continually look for new ways to improve the customer experience. The fact is wireless customers have choices and a record number of them chose AT&T in the third quarter, significantly more than our competitors. Hard data from independent drive tests confirms AT&T has the nation’s fastest mobile broadband network with our nearest competitor 20 percent slower on average nationwide and our largest competitor 60 percent slower on average nationwide. And, our dropped call rate is within 1/10 of a percent – the equivalent of just one call in a thousand – of the industry leader.

http://www.phoneplusmag.com/news/2010/12/sorry-at-t-you-re-still-the-worst-survey.aspx

AT&T Still the Worst – Survey
Dec. 6, 2010

Consumer Reports is back with another survey of wireless carriers, and the news isn’t good for AT&T, which continues to be dogged by complaints about dropped calls and generally poor service.

The survey, published last week, asked questions of more than 50,000 people in more than two dozen U.S. cities. In nearly three-quarters of those locales, AT&T ranked lowest in customer satisfaction. Verizon Wireless ranked highest overall. While AT&T has spent a lot of its PR effort in recent months touting improvements in major markets like San Francisco and New York, at least one analyst says the carrier better realize the problems are more widespread, as the survey suggests.

In a research note, Pali analyst Walter Piecyk wrote,  “We believe it has been an elitist investor view that only a few high profile AT&T markets are having problems on the theory that only ‘tech savvy’ residents of coastal cities would find enough use in the iPhone to impact the quality of AT&T’s network.”

In the survey, AT&T is generally criticized in several customer satisfaction categories, including dropped calls, service availability and voice service. The saving grace might be that the iPhone continues to rank at the top of Consumer Reports’ smartphone ratings, but when Verizon gets its version of the device – anticipated early next year – that could spell more trouble for AT&T.

The carrier responded to the survey, touting its third-quarter numbers and its broadband speeds.

“We take this seriously and we continually look for new ways to improve the customer experience,” AT&T said in a statement. “The fact is wireless customers have choices and a record number of them chose AT&T in the third quarter, significantly more than our competitors. Hard data from independent drive tests confirms AT&T has the nation’s fastest mobile broadband network with our nearest competitor 20 percent slower on average nationwide and our largest competitor 60 percent slower on average nationwide. And, our dropped call rate is within 1/10 of a percent – the equivalent of just one call in a thousand – of the industry leader.”

Sources:

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