Sprint Falls to Last in Customer Satisfaction Survey

by Matt Klassen on November 22, 2013

Sprint is dead last in customer satisfaction among America’s wireless carriers, a survey from Consumer Reports recently revealed. The country’s third largest wireless carrier by subscriber volume scored woefully low marks in “value, voice, text messaging, and 4G reliability,” according to the survey, supplanting the perennial last place finisher AT&T at the bottom of the list.

As usual, Verizon scored the highest marks among the country’s top four carriers, receiving high marks for its data service and various aspects of its customer service, while AT&T and T-Mobile both scored average marks throughout, although notably AT&T was the only carrier to score top marks for the reliability of its 4G network.

While the survey was full of surprises—given the fact that historically Verizon has been more reliable than AT&T, AT&T has been top rated for its speed and performance, and Sprint has usually ranked close to the top in customer satisfaction—the one stalwart unshakeable rock atop the standings was once again the tiny Consumer Cellular, scoring top scores across the board for its mix of no-contract and prepaid options, continuing the pattern of smaller carriers outshining their much larger competitors.

Things are not looking good for Sprint it would seem, as the latest cell service customer satisfaction survey results “revealed a somewhat precipitous decline by Sprint that shuffled the rankings of the major standard service providers,” explains Glenn Derene, electronics content development team leader for Consumer Reports.

Although Sprint reported a profit in the third quarter, the carrier continues to haemorrhage subscribers at an alarming rate, with a net loss of 313,000 over that same period. This happens as Sprint’s smaller competitors offer competitive no-contract and prepaid options, while the big two continue to offer much larger networks boasting vastly superior performance.

Such a drastic drop should not come as a surprise, however, given Sprint’s late arrival to 4G LTE development and the fact the company has undergone a protracted acquisition saga with Softbank. In fact, while certainly disconcerting, the news was taken in stride by the carrier. “While the findings in the Consumer Reports’ survey are disappointing, they’re not necessarily surprising,” said a Sprint representative. “We’ve asked customers during the past year to ‘pardon our dust’ as we build out and upgrade our network.”

To that end, Sprint recently announced the unveiling of its prototype Spark network, one that alternates between three different spectrum bands to provide users with blazing fast and incredibly reliable network access, of course given that its still in its test phase and we have yet to see the response from the rest of the wireless network, the news doesn’t really say much.

As a sidebar, what’s really interesting is that subscribers aren’t more dissatisfied with the likes of AT&T and Verizon, as one additional tidbit of information showed that 38 percent of the users surveyed are overpaying for data, or rather, paying for data they don’t use; a damning critique of the tiered service plans offered by the big two and a vote of approval, in my mind at least, for the likes of Sprint and T-Mobile who are looking to keep the unlimited data plans alive.

That said, this year’s Consumer Report survey clearly shows that despite Sprint’s best efforts to deliver competitive services and deals despite its best efforts to rebrand itself, and despite its best efforts to differentiate itself from the rest of the market, those efforts aren’t taking hold as subscribers continue to jump ship.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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