T-Mobile, AT&T drop in consumer satisfaction as Sprint and Verizon rise to the top

T-Mobile, AT&T drop in consumer satisfaction as Sprint and Verizon rise to the top

Summary: According to the latest American Consumer Satisfaction Index survey, Sprint and Verizon have tied for first in consumer satisfaction, topping rivals AT&T and T-Mobile.

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TOPICS: Telcos, Mobility, AT&T
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Sprint Nextel may not be the biggest or most successful of the four major carriers, but it certainly pleases the most customers.

That's according to the latest American Consumer Satisfaction Index survey, which found after polling 8000 participants that Sprint beat out rivals AT&T and T-Mobile. The company did however tie with Verizon, which may dilute the excitement a bit.

This is a major shift. Three years ago Sprint had a satisfaction rating of 56, last in consumer satisfaction among the big four. Now the company is tied with Verizon, perennial title holder for the most satisfying of the major carriers.

At that same time, AT&T and T-Mobile both dropped three points, a move no doubt emerging out the possibility of the two companies merging next year. AT&T dropped from 69 to 66, while T-Mobile took a similar dip from 73 to 70. It should be noted here that those three point drops are still within the poll's margin for error, so their declines are still a bit tentative.

It's also hard to ignore another important fact: While Sprint can now flaunt its first place status, its satisfaction score of 72 is out of 100, which still leaves a lot of room for improvement. Likewise, its notable how similar the companies' satisfaction scores are. Curiously, the poll found that most satisfied customers weren't served by the Big Four at all. Smaller carriers, for example, netted satisfaction ratings of  77, topping even Sprint and Verizon.

This leads to the inevitable question: With the satisfaction ratings of AT&T and T-Mobile dropping ahead of the merger, what are customers going to think if the deal actually goes through?

[Via Associated Press]

Topics: Telcos, Mobility, AT&T

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14 comments
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  • RE: T-Mobile, AT&T drop in consumer satisfaction as Sprint and Verizon rise to the top

    TMOBILE deserves their crappy rating, they lie about their coverage area and try to charge you outrageous fees even if you cancel within their remorse period! I would never recommend them and I honestly don't see them helping AT&T at all!

    As for Sprint, I am so glad that there is finally competition for Verizon as we really need it to help control pricing.
    slickjim
    • RE: T-Mobile, AT&T drop in consumer satisfaction as Sprint and Verizon rise to the top

      @Peter Perry I have to agree with you. I am going to eat $100 but have to wait until June 10th to get away from T-Mobile. They are also the only one that doesnt lower their early term fee every month as the other 3 do. I'm not too thrilled with AT&T because now they force you to have large texting packages even to get an iphone 3gs for gosh sakes. But overlall, I would say T-Mobile is by far the worst. I don't even see how the acquisition for AT&T is going to help AT&T?! I have a feeling it may be their death knell. I can't even get 3G in a major metro area right by Disneyland. It's hard just to get Edge??
      mlbslugger
  • RE: T-Mobile, AT&T drop in consumer satisfaction as Sprint and Verizon rise to the top

    Sorry, but I still think T-Mobile is the best of the 4 (I've had them all; I have Verizon for work--the worst and Spring for a data card; no more AT&T until the merger, which I hope never happens). Also, T-M is the least expensive and offers the best Android phones.

    When T-M could have been horrible, it was the best (I don't see Verizon or AT&T doing this). I was widowed 3 years ago. When T-M found out, it proactively asked me if I wanted to switch from our Family Plan to a Single Plan (and keep the same number of minutes at no additional cost!). Wow! Have I had issues with some phones over the years? Sure, but T-M always took care of them--politely and quickly, with no runaround (I wish it would teach Norton some lessons on customer service, but let's not go there). Verizon, on the other hand, is a constant customer service nightmare, and I've never received any satisfaction from it. Sprint does okay, but it's no T-Mobile IMHO.
    bethere@...
  • Verizon not so hot

    I started with ATT, went to Verizon for a little more than two years, then went back to ATT in January this year.

    We only use cell phones for voice calls and based on that Verizon was definitely inferior. Their voice quality was very distorted and there was an unnerving echo on the line for 2/3 calls. You could hear your own voice repeat after a 1-3 second delay at nearly the same volume as the person on the other end of the line. The sound in the earpiece went dead during conversational pauses, leading you to think the call was dropped. Most of the time voice transmission seemed to be half-duplex, leading to weird, lurching conversations if both parties spoke at once.

    Their customer service stank. It took a minimum of three billing cycles to correct billing or esrvice plan errors. In 26 months we received 3 or 4 bills that were correct. When we turned off the totally useless navigation feature on the phones after 15 days Verizon didn't tell us that we had to turn it off at the phone. Evidently, calling to opt out of service doesn't actually opt out of service. To be fair, the necessary billing adjustments were always made eventually, but I knew I had to spend an hour or two every month making sure there were no surprises and that all the corrections actually got made. This took meticulous record keeping since their mistakes and corretions overlapped so much. It took 8 months before we got a completely correct bill.

    As far as dropped calls go, my wife and I had opposite experiences with the two carriers, so that may have been a phone problem.

    On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd give Verizon a 2 and ATT a 4, so we're dissatisfied with both. I haven't tried the other carriers because they've always seemed to be more risky. Our friends have little good to say about them, anyway.
    wbaxterwork
    • RE: T-Mobile, AT&T drop in consumer satisfaction as Sprint and Verizon rise to the top

      @wbaxterwork
      Want a real winner (Not) try Cricket the only thing they got is cheap rates Now they are in all States as they claim but in VERY limited locations drop calls I think they hold the record. I live in the South Suburban Denver metro area can be sitting in my front room talking on the phone and all of a sudden the call is drop look at my phone and it will say no signal. I have to wait 20 to 30 seconds for the phone to acquire the signal again! My computer signal will go from good to weak speed sucks it think it is 2G :> My neighbor down below has the same problem! Going to try Clear for a while soon!
      tjfoley2
  • RE: T-Mobile, AT&T drop in consumer satisfaction as Sprint and Verizon rise to the top

    I've been very happy with Sprint, which is why I waited for the Google phone. I've been using the Nexus S over a week now. So far, so good. Here's my review:
    http://trial-technology.blogspot.com/2011/05/samsung-nexus-s-blackberry-replacement.html
    litigationtech
  • RE: T-Mobile, AT&T drop in consumer satisfaction as Sprint and Verizon rise to the top

    my sprint 3G speeds have been terrible in the past few months since the great February blizzard ravaged my area, they helped a bit by crediting my account and offered me an airave (refused it because I don't have home broadband ). they're just now starting to improve and I can watch Netflix on my HTC arrive with little or no interruption with satisfactory picture quality. VZ im guessing is the same because I speed tested the phone of someone I know who has them and the speed was similar to one of the low 3G speeds I've been getting with sprint.
    Eric12341
  • RE: T-Mobile, AT&T drop in consumer satisfaction as Sprint and Verizon rise to the top

    I switch to T-Mobile a year ago from AT&T and could not be more pleased. Every carrier has its issue, T-Mobile included. It's how they take care of the issue and their customers that count. I would give T-Mobile a 9 (out of 10) here. My concern is the upcoming merger and will probably leave T-Moble because I do not what to be associated with AT&T in any fashion or form. I personally hope T-Mobile wises up, listens to their customers on this merger and walks away from it
    rallgayer
  • RE: T-Mobile, AT&T drop in consumer satisfaction as Sprint and Verizon rise to the top

    One of the reasons Tmobile C/S sucks is the C/S rep. are under the gun to get you on & off fast! My nephew quit them because they kept on his back about the number of calls he was handling even though they gave him an award for the fewer call backs. Got praise from the customers who took their survey! It is bulk not quality that matters to them.
    tjfoley2
  • RE: T-Mobile, AT&T drop in consumer satisfaction as Sprint and Verizon rise to the top

    There are probably tens of thousands who are like me, who are unahppy with AT&T's decision to do away with unlimited data and switching to the tiered data usage rates. I will be looking at lower rates and unlimited data usage when my contract expires.
    looneytunzrus@...
  • RE: T-Mobile, AT&T drop in consumer satisfaction as Sprint and Verizon rise to the top

    When I am sold to AT&T by tmobile. I will then flee to sprint.<br><br>I am a tmobile customer. Most of us are happy. Sprint and tmobile combined are the largest us carrier with the largest spectrum holdings and the most uniform spectrum holdings when sprint shuts down the aging nextel network next year.<br><br><br>Hmmm.<br><br>How exactly is the tmobile and AT&T deal good for consumers?<br><br>AT&T charges on average 25% more per post paid customer their numbers. Has twice as many customers as tmobile 1/30 the amount of spectrum per user and less dropped calls. <br><br>I think the merger is a no brainer for consumers. AT&T gets more network for less than the cost to build theere own.
    jm4az
  • Don't lose sight of tracfone

    I generally consider tracfone wireless to be AT&T's cheaper option for the lower end market. I know tracfone also makes use of Verizon's network, as well as Sprint, and some smaller companies, but in excess of 70% of tracfone clients are on AT&T's GSM network. To further this thought, AT&T have two representatives on the board of directors of America Movil - Tracfones mother company. This, in my mind very much makes tracfone the cheaper AT&T option.
    Jonjonbailey
  • RE: T-Mobile, AT&T drop in consumer satisfaction as Sprint and Verizon rise to the top

    I'm glad to hear this about Sprint's service, I was a customer about 10 or 15 years ago, and a friend invited me onto his family plan - that may be too good to pass up.

    the problem that I'm finding, however, is that Sprint has no good Android phones. The good ones they have are the Evo 4G which has been out over a year now, and I wouldn't sign a 2 year contract on a year old phone.
    Same for the Nexus S 4G. Although "new to Sprint", it's the same phone that's been around on other carriers for a year now. I like that one, but I'm not signing a contract on a 1 year old phone, particularly with the rocket-launch progress curve on new Android phones...
    When is the dual-core Galaxy S II coming to Sprint?
    That's a phone I am confident won't feel outdated two years down the road.
    geolemon
  • RE: T-Mobile, AT&T drop in consumer satisfaction as Sprint and Verizon rise to the top

    I switched from a Verizon voice-only family plan to a T-Mobile Android phone just 3 months ago, with a 2-year contract. I am very disappointed to learn of the impending absorption of T-Mobile by AT&T, since it means that I will be throwing my phone away and finding new service and phone elsewhere when my contract expires. My experience with AT&T is such that there is no way in Hell that I will do business with AT&T one minute longer than I must.
    macmcf