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AT&T ranks last in Consumer Reports mobile service survey

post #1 of 118
Thread Starter 
A survey of users of the four major cell phone providers in the U.S. has ranked AT&T, the exclusive carrier of Apple's iPhone, last in terms of customer satisfaction.

Consumer Reports surveyed more than 50,000 readers in 26 U.S. cities, asking about carriers in a number of different categories related to service and customer support. In 19 of those cities, AT&T ranked worst.

Overall, AT&T came in fourth place with a total score of 66. It ranked worst in voice service, and average for messaging and Web/e-mail. Customer service on the phone and via Web ranked poorly, as did staff knowledge and whether the customer's issue was resolved.

Coming in first was Verizon, which ranked highly across all categories: voice, messaging, Web/e-mail, and customer service. Verizon had an overall reader score of 75.

In second place was T-Mobile. Though customers feel the nation's smallest wireless carrier has decidedly average service, the customer support was found to be superior. It earned an overall score of 70.

Sprint came in third with a score of 67, with average service and sub-par customer support, particularly in the area of issue resolution.

The survey is not the only that has found customer satisfaction with AT&T to be relatively poor. In September, another survey found a significant decline in brand perception for AT&T after the carrier faced intense scrutiny over the quality of its network following the launch of the iPhone 3GS. That study found that AT&T lagged well behind competitor Verizon in terms of consumer perception.

AT&T's issues prompted the company to launch an aggressive public relations campaign in which the carrier publicly acknowledged customer complaints and promised to address them.

AT&T came under scrutiny again in October, this time directly from competitor Verizon, which launched a series of ads mocking the iPhone's "There's an app for that" tagline with the slogan "There's a map for that." The commercials, which contrast Verizon's 3G coverage map with AT&T's, have led to a lawsuit in which AT&T has alleged the TV spots are misleading.

This year, numerous reports (1, 2, 3) have suggested that a Verizon-compatible iPhone will arrive in the summer of 2010. For that to happen, Apple would have to build a new handset that could operate on Verizon's unique CDMA network.

The study also found that 98 percent of iPhone users would buy the handset again. That extraordinary total is in line with a study from August, which found that the iPhone 3GS had a 99 percent satisfaction rate.
post #2 of 118
I am happy with their service in all aspects. Customer service has been very helpful the small amount of times I have spoken with them and cell service is rock solid for me here in Houston.
post #3 of 118
Talk about excellent timing by CR given the ad war between Verizon and AT&T. Should be interesting to see what (if anything) they do next.
post #4 of 118
Luckily, in my country, all the carriers run the same technology and therefor they all sell the iPhone..
Not in the beginning, but now.

But I can appreciate the problems facing any carrier when there are 300 million people to cover in such a vast area.
post #5 of 118
Weird, of all the US carriers, AT&T had the lowest churn rate and highest new addition of customers this past quarter... Understandably, the iphone could account for highest rate of new customers, but churn rate should have reflected this report. In Central Florida, it is the best carrier by far, though my friends in NYC say it is rather awful in their area.
post #6 of 118
Obviously these people have never had Sprint. AT&T is like a knight in shining armor compared to the abusive parent Sprint was. Okay... sort of a lame analogy, but you get the picture. AT&T good - Sprint bad
post #7 of 118
I've had Sprint, T-Mobile, and Cingular before it merged with AT&T, which improved 1000% after the merge. I don't think AT&T has great service, but it has been the best that I've had. If Apple releases a phone on Verizon, I would definitely jump on the wagon, but only to see the quality of the network. I simply don't believe the hype of it being the best. AT&T has struggle to keep up with demand, but it is catching up. I don't think any US network would have been really prepared for the bandwidth demand of the millions of iPhones that have been activated.
post #8 of 118
In my experience in northern California, AT&T is probably 3rd worst carrier, behind Verizon and Sprint (T-Mobile is the worst as it bought some of the redundant towers from AT&T).

But in terms of service, I think it is the worst. Almost every time I call the customer service, they add feature I did not ask for. It has gotten so bad that I have to beg them not to add anything else.
post #9 of 118
OLD NEWS

They have been for years as I've mentioned on here numerous times only to be called a whiner and complainer. Don't say I didn''t warn you'all.
Where's solipsism to defend them as he always used to? Lately he's changed his tune.
I wonder why? perhaps he can explain.
post #10 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

I am happy with their service in all aspects. Customer service has been very helpful the small amount of times I have spoken with them and cell service is rock solid for me here in Houston.

Ditto. I can't complain about AT&T in any way. Maybe Verizon paid off CR.
post #11 of 118
This is mostly expected though I am surprised to see the number from top to bottom so close and Sprint so close to being taken by AT&T. Sprint really cant use another nail in their coffin. Sprints situation is odd since they are using CDMA, like Verizon, which has the superior voice codec over GSM. I suspect that Sprint will fall to forth on CRs next survey.


Quote:
Originally Posted by DCno10 View Post

Talk about excellent timing by CR given the ad war between Verizon and AT&T. Should be interesting to see what (if anything) they do next.

Verizon really should advertise the hell out of these results.


Quote:
Originally Posted by kiwee View Post

But I can appreciate the problems facing any carrier when there are 300 million people to cover in such a vast area.

That is a point many from other countries dont readily see when they talk about their coverage, bandwidth and mobile plan costs. The US average population density is quite low, even if you remove the areas that arent inhabited or are agricultural, but leaving major road coverage. What country are you from?


Quote:
Originally Posted by jaben View Post

Weird, of all the US carriers, AT&T had the lowest churn rate and highest new addition of customers this past quarter... Understandably, the iphone could account for highest rate of new customers, but churn rate should have reflected this report. In Central Florida, it is the best carrier by far, though my friends in NYC say it is rather awful in their area.

That is the problem with the US for mobile coverage: so much depends on your area of use. I just moved from an area with poor Verizon coverage and great AT&T coverage to one with poor AT&T coverage ( I have no idea how Verizons coverage is here but it cant be worse).
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post #12 of 118
I wonder how long it will take AT&T to properly respond -- that is, with a lawsuit and a TV ad featuring Luke Wilson chucking pages from a magazine at a map??
post #13 of 118
Personally, I'm looking forward to when I can have my iPhone with Verizon, or any other phone service *other* than AT&T.

Horrible network. Lousy 3G network. Persistent dropped calls and many other issues.
post #14 of 118
I would argue this. There are way too many factors in the mix. Where are you located in the country? What phone do you use - smartphone or voice only? Are you using edge or 3G?

I hear all the time that ATT service sucks, and some say its perfectly fine. Iv'e been on all the major carries over the years and honestly none of them seem any better than the other. Who hasn't had a cell call drop off from time to time. Throw a few million iPhones on the network and guess what? - you better be ready to accommodate the bandwidth.

I'd like to see what happens with any other carrier when you dump a few million bandwidth hungry smartphones on it. I bet the complaints would be the same.

In central Florida, I have no complaints with ATT.
post #15 of 118
....I'm not going to choose a carrier just because they have excellent service somewhere else. It's about where I live.

This survey is already old news.
post #16 of 118
My experience is great here in Austin. A few minor billing issues, but they were able to resolve in a reasonable amount of time.

Wonder if all the negative press has affected this. I do applaud them for being the first to bear the brunt of the new mobile browser age.
post #17 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by kscottmyers View Post

I would argue this. There are way too many factors in the mix. Where are you located in the country? What phone do you use - smartphone or voice only? Are you using edge or 3G?

A properly designed survey with a large enough sampling should statistically smooth out all the different factors.

The point of a survey is that it is the average of all responses... not an absolute prediction of the exact results in any circumstance at any time.
post #18 of 118
I have Sprint now after leaving Verizon. I see no difference between the networks but the pricing plans are superior. Sprint basically piggy-backs Verizon's network where they don't have towers (and Verizon does the same...), so the coverage is the same.

I have not had to call customer support, but my fiancee has had Sprint for years and has never had a bad experience calling customer support.

I guess it all depends on what you are calling for... I hated calling Cingular support because I had them argue with me... ???

I hate calling AT&T (landline/DSL) because I sometimes get different answers from different people on the same call... to the point where I talked to 8 different people with 8 different answers and then, I unleashed my fury on them and finally got what I wanted and they promised.
post #19 of 118
AT&T ranks last in Consumer Reports mobile service survey

Yet 98% of iPhone users would buy an iPhone again.
post #20 of 118
It is too bad that AI couldn't include some of the other telling remarks/findings Consumer Reports apparently published in regards to the survey, i.e.,

Quote:
AT&T Ranked Last in Consumer Reports’ Best Cellphone Service Survey

It certainly would appear that way. With low marks for several key indicators of customer satisfaction–including service availability, circuit capacity, dropped-call frequency and voice service–across 73 percent of the markets Consumer Reports surveyed, it’s pretty clear that AT&T has become overextended by the popularity of the iPhone. Which is bad news for the carrier and, of course, for iPhone owners as well.

As Consumer reports notes, “Apple’s iPhones are the top smart phones in our Ratings–actually, among the best of all phones we tested, period–but their exclusive carrier, AT&T, was middling at best in satisfaction….If you’re readying to buy Apple’s phone, prepare for possible disappointment with its service and expect to love the phone anyway. Despite the network problems, a staggering 98 percent of iPhone users in our cell-phone-buying survey were satisfied enough to say they would definitely or probably buy the phone again. Only 79 percent of respondents who bought other cell phones said the same.

http://digitaldaily.allthingsd.com/2...ervice-survey/

P.S. @ Quadra 610: Have to make my answers shorter. But it is nice that somebody else takes a little more time to ferret out the info.
post #21 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaben View Post

Weird, of all the US carriers, AT&T had the lowest churn rate and highest new addition of customers this past quarter... Understandably, the iphone could account for highest rate of new customers, but churn rate should have reflected this report. In Central Florida, it is the best carrier by far, though my friends in NYC say it is rather awful in their area.

The iPhone is the reason for the low churn rate as well. They have millions of iPhone customers such as myself who are unhappy with the service but remain just to continue using our iPhones. We're like battered housewives.

If you had a graph measuring AT&T churn, the line would probably take a steep drop from 2007 to the record lows of today. In the past that might have meant increased happiness with their performance, but let the iPhone exclusivity agreement expire with an iPhone on every carrier and see how low their churn remains. Only then could you say it's due to more happy AT&T customers rather than happy Apple customers.
post #22 of 118
I know a very smart guy who was vociferously complaining for months and months that his iPhone had a strong signal but usually wasn't getting 3G (in a major metro area) and that he frequently couldn't even use the Internet. It turns out he works in a wi-fi area and frequents other locales with wi-fi hotspots, some of which set cookies that require periodic renewal (acceptance of terms of service) in Safari. Not only did the wi-fi symbol obscure the fact that he has always been on 3G, but auto-connection to previously used hotspots--combined with their expired cookies--prevented use of e-mail and other non-Safari uses of the Internet. He had no idea what was going on, and I suspect a lot of users are in the same boat. Upon explaining this to him, he said the iPhone was a nice device but he wouldn't recommend it--an opinion that I suspect will improve now but has been somewhat engrained by his past experience.

Because of my own experience with the above issues, I often keep wi-fi turned off and rarely connect to hotspots away from home.

It would help if the iPhone displayed "3G" alongside the wi-fi symbol, rather than having the wi-fi symbol supplant the "3G". Aside from letting users know they are indeed within a 3G area, it would tell them whether voice calls will be of the higher quality associated with 3G.
post #23 of 118
Finally, a report that points out how bad AT&T's phone service is.

I live in Los Angeles, and there are areas here where signal strength is as bad now as it was 10 years ago. And no, I'm not talking remote areas or canyons... I'm referring to flat stretches of mid-city L.A. or heavily populated areas in the Valley. Burbank coverage is as awful now as it was when PacBell was the carrier. So much for all the "network upgrades" AT&T is always bragging about. Where have they been done... Boise? Certainly not here.

And that's just my experience with EDGE. 3G is even worse.

It says a lot about the quality and user experience of the iPhone that many of us stick with AT&T despite their awful signal strength for basic phone service. If I could get the iPhone on a better provider like Verizon, I'd jump ship immediately, as would most of my iPhone-loving friends.

GTSC
post #24 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post

It is too bad that AI couldn't include some of the other telling remarks/findings Consumer Reports apparently published in regards to the survey, i.e.,



P.S. @ Quadra 610: Have to make my answers shorter. But it is nice that somebody else takes a little more time to ferret out the info.

Well, we live in times where the device makes the carrier. Signal strength and call quality can vary from place to place. But a lousy UI and medicore user experience tends to stay as it is.
post #25 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

AT&T ranks last in Consumer Reports mobile service survey

Yet 98% of iPhone users would buy an iPhone again.

Well what percentage did Kinsey say are masochists?
post #26 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gandalf the Semi-Coherent View Post

It says a lot about the quality and user experience of the iPhone that many of us stick with AT&T despite their awful signal strength for basic phone service. If I could get the iPhone on a better provider like Verizon, I'd jump ship immediately, as would most of my iPhone-loving friends.

I suspect if Verizon had been the exclusive carrier of the iPhone, people would be complaining about Verizon instead. No way does Verizon have to handle the demand for data that AT&T is experiencing, especially in urban areas. And I suspect AT&T backs off some 3G users to EDGE in order to modulate/handle the traffic.

People would also be complaining about Verizon's "nickle-and-diming". Their early termination fee is now $350 and they charge extra per month for visual voice mail on the Druid. When Verizon's habit is to charge for every little thing, you can see why Verizon didn't want the iPhone in the first place.
post #27 of 118
here is a perfect example of how bad the iphone service is...

NSFW because of language (a few f-words dropped)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRRoHAs8x8w


guy tries to text message with full service and then tries to make a call to 411 and it never goes thru.
post #28 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

Well, we live in times where the device makes the carrier. Signal strength and call quality can vary from place to place. But a lousy UI and medicore user experience tends to stay as it is.

I find it shocking that 79% of "other" phone users would buy the same phone again, despite the lousy UI and mediocre user experience.
post #29 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Well what percentage did Kinsey say are masochists?

I don't know, is it related to the percentage of sadists?
post #30 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by trev View Post

here is a perfect example of how bad the iphone service is...

NSFW because of language (a few f-words dropped)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRRoHAs8x8w

I had to stop watching after a few seconds. There is so many foolish things going on and none of them mean its absolutely a problem with AT&Ts service. It very well could be and likely is, but there simply isnt enough evidence to say that it is, without question, AT&Ts fault in that instance.
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post #31 of 118
I wish people would stop confusing "quality" of the network with "coverage" of the network. They really are not the same thing.
post #32 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by trev View Post

here is a perfect example of how bad the iphone service is...

NSFW because of language (a few f-words dropped)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRRoHAs8x8w


guy tries to text message with full service and then tries to make a call to 411 and it never goes thru.

It is not AT&T.

Secondly, he is using Wi-Fi and I would have immediately turned it off or checked the network settings, something that is even more apparent when he tried to make the 411 call.

Firstly, he should have sobered up.
post #33 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by trev View Post

here is a perfect example of how bad the iphone service is...

Let me guess: his iPhone is jailbroken and/or he hasn't updated its software. Since he prefers 4-letter words, I suspect the latter.
post #34 of 118
[QUOTE=filburt;1528522]In my experience in northern California, AT&T is probably 3rd worst carrier ...

But in terms of service, I think it is the worst. ...

Agreed on that. I live in Berkeley and have been an AT&T Wireless customer since 2001. I've seen the service steadily deteriorate, with increasingly unknowledgeable people on the phone and in their stores. The people in their stores seem lazy and uninterested in helping you out, similar to my experience in trying to find somebody to help me when I'm in a Target store.

I find the in store service at T Mobile much better. The people there are much more pleasant to deal with and their products and services seem to be priced more reasonably. I'm going to check their bay are coverage map in the near future when I go to get a new cell phone.
post #35 of 118
I guess it's all the people who switched to AT&T from other Networks so have something to base a comparison on.

It must be a lot.
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post #36 of 118
Well 66% of those surveyed liked their ATT service. But overall the people have spoken. I'm a Verizon user and seldom have problems with coverage. But note that in the same issue of Consumer Reports, the ATT / iPhone is the highest rated phone out there! (They also liked the new 21" iMac). How long do we have to wait for the Verizon/iPhone?
post #37 of 118
the hardware device is clearly not working correctly tho if it shows service but nothing happens. really what excuse could there be? the phone doesn't function the way its supposed to. clearly.

if the phone shows it has service it should be able to make a call, if it can't make the call then the device should read NO SERVICE reguardless of whats "going on".

i mean, is to much to ask to just pay for something that WORKS?

its like selling a car with a faulty gas gauge. its the same idea. obviosly SOMETHING is NOT functioning properly.
post #38 of 118
Standing outside a tall AT&T building the other day - with another large AT&T building (with many antennas on the roof) in sight three blocks away - I had Edge. Happens nine times out of ten to me in that area. You'd think all the AT&T employees coming and going would do something...

That's in downtown Charlotte. One of the markets promised an upgrade by year-end. We'll see.

For those of you who say your signal is fine: That's nice, for you. Of course there are areas that have acceptable coverage. But it doesn't mean there isn't a massive problem with the network.
post #39 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post

It would help if the iPhone displayed "3G" alongside the wi-fi symbol, rather than having the wi-fi symbol supplant the "3G". Aside from letting users know they are indeed within a 3G area, it would tell them whether voice calls will be of the higher quality associated with 3G.

How would you know whether the phone was using Wi-Fi or 3G if it showed both?

It's one area where Apple's "we'll take care of it for you" attitude can lead to problems. Users cannot choose which signal they want to use, the iPhone automatically selects one for you and the only option for users is to disable something to force the other. Give me a little popup that lets me pick.
post #40 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post

Let me guess: his iPhone is jailbroken and/or he hasn't updated its software. Since he prefers 4-letter words, I suspect the latter.

read the description guy:

" AT&T has garbage 3G cell phone service

and i want to slap steve jobs across the face. where's the App for that???

the phone has never been thru the jailbreak process and never will. iPhone OS 3.0 is what i'm running.
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