Consumer Reports: AT&T Worst Wireless Carrier

by Gaurav Kheterpal on December 7, 2010

Consumer Reports is out with its latest cell phone service survey, and it’s no surprise that AT&T is rated as the worst-rated cellular service provider in the U.S. The carrier has been at the receiving end from the customers owing to its poor performance and customer service for the last couple of years and things don’t seem to have improved despite a massive $2 billion face-saving investment.

On the contrary, Verizon continues to be ranked amongst the “better performers”. With the Verizon iPhone looming, the Consumer Reports review couldn’t have been more ill-timed for AT&T.

I have no doubt that AT&T has a lot of work to do and time is running out. The iPhone exclusivity will soon be a thing of the past. The consumer confidence in AT&T has hit an all-time low. And I’m now beginning to believe that it’s a matter of time before my worst fears regarding AT&T come true.

The Consumer Reports survey covered 58,000 readers and ranked carriers about overall value, voice, data and texting services as well as how customer service, resolution of complaints and knowledge level of support staff. AT&T ranked lowest with an overall score of 60 out of 100. T-Mobile fared marginally better with a score of 69. There’s not much to choose between Verizon (74) and Sprint (73) but the big surprise is the relatively low-profile carrier U.S. Cellular topping this year’s list with an impressive score of 82.

Sprint seems to be the biggest gainer as it “pulled even in overall satisfaction with Verizon” this year after being ranked as the worst provider in a two-way tie with AT&T. In fact, the carrier managed to even beat Verizon on a handful of evaluation parameters.

The Consumer Reports review will further hit AT&T”s already tarnished image. To make matters worse, it is the only carrier to witness a significant drop in overall satisfaction as it received the lowest possible rating of “Worse” in eight out of nine categories. More than half of the AT&T customers surveyed owned an iPhone and it’s a well-known fact that these customers love their devices as much as they hate the carrier. iPhone owners are particularly dissatisfied with AT&T’s pathetic data service.

While AT&T maintains that it’s “continually look for new ways to improve the customer experience”, time is running out fast. The carrier has spent billions of dollars in the last few years improving its network. However, it seems that customers believe that the carrier’s network is now far worse than earlier and “Dropped Calls” continue to be cause for major concern.

Customer satisfaction and brand loyalty can be tricky challenges in the wireless world. And nobody knows that better than AT&T.

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Written by: Gaurav Kheterpal. www.digitcom.ca >. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com > by: RSS>, Twitter >, Identi.ca >, or Friendfeed >

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