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Consumer Reports readers rank AT&T worst carrier in US

post #1 of 79
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AT&T, the exclusive wireless provider of Apple's iPhone in the U.S., was the only major American carrier that dropped significantly in overall customer satisfaction in this year's Consumer Reports reader survey.

AT&T fared poorly across the board, earning the worst-possible score in all categories related to value, service and customer support, except for the "texting" service category. More than half of survey respondents who used AT&T owned some version of the iPhone.

"Our survey suggests that an iPhone from Verizon Wireless, which is rumored, could indeed be good news for iPhone fans," said Paul Reynolds, electronics editor for Consumer Reports.

The carrier with the highest score was U.S. Cellular, which serves in 26 states mostly in the South and Midwest. To see the full results in the January issue, subscribe to Consumer Reports.

In second place was Verizon Wireless, which is widely rumored to receive the iPhone in early 2011. Verizon also recently began selling Apple's iPad, bundled with a MiFi 2200 Intelligent Hotspot.

Nipping at Verizon's heels is Sprint, which scored better than Verizon in terms of e-mail customer support. Verizon was previously the top U.S. provider since 2003.

In fourth, but still ahead of AT&T, was T-Mobile, which respondents said has poor service, but the best telephone customer support in the industry.

Consumer Reports carrier rankings, from the January issue.

In response to the Consumer Reports survey, AT&T sent out the following response:

"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."

The company also cited a survey from last month, which found that AT&T has wireless speeds much faster than Verizon. That same study, from Global Wireless Solutions Inc., also found that AT&T's dropped call rate is within one-tenth of a percent of Verizon.
post #2 of 79
This survey is flawed. All of the iPhone users are on a single network (AT&T). As everyone knows, iPhone users have a unique expectation level and they stress the network far above all other cell phone users. This has skewed the results.

More than half of the AT&T respondents were iPhone users. It would be interesting to see the survey results if you could take away the iPhone users.

Next year’s survey will become more meaningful when we can compare iPhone users on multiple carriers. (IE…how does a Verizon iPhone user compare with an AT&T iPhone user, T-Mobile, Sprint, etc).

In fact, Consumer reports should compare the same cell phones on various networks to get a “like for like” result. What’s the point of comparing a network full of voice/text users with a network that carries a lot of wireless internet traffic?
post #3 of 79
Wasn't this the same bunch of muppets who did the self promoting iPhone 4 write up last year?

I think their credibility rating shrank to zero after that. They could tell me the sun would rise tomorrow and I would still treat them with a dose of scepticism.
post #4 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post

Wasn't this the same bunch of muppets who did the self promoting iPhone 4 write up last year?

I think their credibility rating shrank to zero after that. They could tell me the sun would rise tomorrow and I would still treat them with a dose of scepticism.

the grass is not greener in the cellular world....its all a bit dismal.
post #5 of 79
Hard to take them too seriously when they rank Verizon #2. As far as I can tell, they're only good for two things: an excellent quality of service (in terms of things like reliability) and they've got some good phones. Almost every other aspect of the company is hell.

And we all know AT&T sucks.
The true measure of a man is how he treats someone that can do him absolutely no good.
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The true measure of a man is how he treats someone that can do him absolutely no good.
  Samuel Johnson
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post #6 of 79
AT&T in NYC is quite horrible.
post #7 of 79
Nonsense. AT&T has been great.
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post #8 of 79
Am I the only one who has never had major problems with AT&T? I've been with three of the major carriers in my cell phone lifetime, and they all have their problems, but my best experience has been with AT&T.
post #9 of 79
I love ATT ... is that because I drink the coolaid?
post #10 of 79
AT&T in Warrenton, VA apparently is great. I ended up going with Verizon for unlimited data, but even they aren't doing that now, or so I've heard.
post #11 of 79
This is all BS. I have been with AT&T for the past 8 years and they have been great. Yes they did run into some trouble when the iPhone launched in 2007 but honestly no carrier in the world could prepare themselves for that kind of increase in traffic, 5000% increase to be exact which is fucking insane! They have been working hard to keep up with demand and I'm really interested in seeing how the other carriers in the U.S. hold up when they get the iPhone. I think a lot of this have to do with those few iPhone users who wine about everything and are never happy.
post #12 of 79
A rephrasing of AT&T's comment:-

"Money talks, consumer reports bulls**t walks."
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Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
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post #13 of 79
I didn't realize how terrible AT&T was until I switched from AT&T to Verizon Wireless a while ago. I have thought about the iPhone but I would never go back to AT&T.
post #14 of 79
I have joined this forum to chime in with how much I hate AT&T. Their service is a complete and total joke. They regularly have no bars in places frequented by thousands of people daily. I hope AT&T dies in a terrible fire.
post #15 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by screamingfist View Post

the grass is not greener in the cellular world....its all a bit dismal.

All good comments, but I agree with this one the most...Cell companies are rather like Cable companies...just trying complex and convoluted pricing structures to exact another few dollars per month out of me...I cut the cable cord and miss F1 and some of the good NFL games...but screw paying $60/month and having to watch inane commercials for pizza, beer, buicks and car insurance! Uggh!

Cell companies are rather like the music industry charging $17 for a CD with only a few good songs on it. Or MS selling me a POS OS, AOL sell me POS access to the internet or Sony, HP, Dell, Gateway (RIP) selling me a POS tower! Ugggh! Or me giving my GF $5K a month and only getting 60 Bj's over the last 3 years! Something's gotta give!


Best.
post #16 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by noexpectations View Post

This survey is flawed. All of the iPhone users are on a single network (AT&T). As everyone knows, iPhone users have a unique expectation level and they stress the network far above all other cell phone users. This has skewed the results.

More than half of the AT&T respondents were iPhone users. It would be interesting to see the survey results if you could take away the iPhone users.

Next years survey will become more meaningful when we can compare iPhone users on multiple carriers. (IEhow does a Verizon iPhone user compare with an AT&T iPhone user, T-Mobile, Sprint, etc).

In fact, Consumer reports should compare the same cell phones on various networks to get a like for like result. Whats the point of comparing a network full of voice/text users with a network that carries a lot of wireless internet traffic?

ATT was at/near the bottom of Consumer Reports surveys long before the iPhone was ever released.
post #17 of 79
Consumer report is against the iPhone so as far as I am concerned I do not put too much stock on what they say. I have been with the other carriers and I was not happy with any of them.

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post #18 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleZilla View Post

Am I the only one who has never had major problems with AT&T? I've been with three of the major carriers in my cell phone lifetime, and they all have their problems, but my best experience has been with AT&T.

You're not the only one... When the iPhone was first released, I did have problems with AT&T service. It has steadily improved... I've used the "Mark the Spot" app a few times to report problem areas.

The last time I had a problem was during the SF Gay Pride Parade at the end of June... I actually didn't have a problem along the parade route and was using facebook mobile to upload pics from the parade, but lost most service when I was in the Civic Center Plaza... But this is an iPhone loving crowd and there were hundreds of thousands of people jammed into a 6 block area... I thought I might see a couple of iPhone 4's but thought I would be one of the few... I saw at least 100 iPhone 4's that day.

I'm wondering if this isn't a matter of perception... iPhone users are a little pickier than average (actually, I think we're a LOT pickier). I've tried ALL of the major service providers and Verizon in SF was the worst of ALL of them. I returned the phone and cancelled service within the first week, after calling their Tech Support and being told they don't guarantee service in buildings (couldn't get any service in my apartment). I actually liked Sprint's coverage and T-Mobile seemed to try the hardest (their support was much better than the others).

I'm guessing that Verizon's favorable ratings will decline when they get the iPhone.

As for Consumer Reports, I've been a long time subscriber and their coverage of the iPhone 4 antenna issue has lead me to lose a lot of respect for them... I had FAR MORE issues with having to hold my Motorola RAZR delicately with 3 fingers to avoid antenna related reception problems than I ever had with my iPhone 4. Shame on you Consumer Reports. If you see a dramatic drop in subscribers, maybe you'll do better REAL WORLD testing... I know I'm not renewing!
post #19 of 79
I can say that my experience with AT&T in Houston has improved over the years since the iPhone came out and by far the i4 is the most reliable one for me. There are even times when I hit over 4 or 5 Mbps download without breaking a sweat. Not all the time mind you, but it happens. Usually in the 1.5 range.

I am happy with them and won't be leaving. Every service has its issues and it all depends on how it works for you. Sprint may do better in one particular spot than Verizon and vice versa.
post #20 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by noexpectations View Post

This survey is flawed. All of the iPhone users are on a single network (AT&T). As everyone knows, iPhone users have a unique expectation level and they stress the network far above all other cell phone users. This has skewed the results.

More than half of the AT&T respondents were iPhone users. It would be interesting to see the survey results if you could take away the iPhone users.

Next years survey will become more meaningful when we can compare iPhone users on multiple carriers. (IEhow does a Verizon iPhone user compare with an AT&T iPhone user, T-Mobile, Sprint, etc).

In fact, Consumer reports should compare the same cell phones on various networks to get a like for like result. Whats the point of comparing a network full of voice/text users with a network that carries a lot of wireless internet traffic?

Oh this is nonsense. We were told that iPhone users were all using heaps of data until AT&T offered a $15 plan then suddenly everyone chimes in and notes they don't even use 200 megs.

"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

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post #21 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by daylove22 View Post

Consumer report is against the iPhone so as far as I am concerned I do not put too much stock on what they say. I have been with the other carriers and I was not happy with any of them.

I second that...they were always seemingly negative to Apple when talking about laptops and desktops....way before the iPhone! Uggh!

How many people did they steer to HP's, Dell's, Sony's and Gateway's (RIP) creaky, plasticky POS?

I long ago stopped my subscription...I already know Honda and Toyota make the best cars!



Best
post #22 of 79
Consumer Reports is the worst magazine of its kind too. Their ratings system has been consistenly unhelpful, whether it is cars, refrigerators, washing machines or cameras.
post #23 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by zindako View Post

AT&T in NYC is quite horrible.

WRONG!

AT&T in NYC is quite horrible! What? That's what you said? Sorry, bad connection!
post #24 of 79
All the carriers suck in one way or another.

Hmm maybe that's what Apple should spend their cash hoard on...
post #25 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by macnyc View Post

WRONG!

AT&T in NYC is quite horrible! What? That's what you said? Sorry, bad connection!

It was only a few days during the summer, but when my wife and I were in NYC, we had absolutely zero problems, except for when we'd walk down to the subway (duh!). I consistently had 4-5 bars in the middle of downtown Manhatten, and even had a consistent 1-2 bars on Liberty Island, which I think is pretty good. All of this was 3G as well, I never dropped to EDGE. No slow data connections, no dropped calls when I did call people, nothing. I'm not going to be one of those people that says some kind of problem doesn't potentially exist, but in my experience, I never even worried about it.
post #26 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by sippincider View Post

All the carriers suck in one way or another.

Hmm maybe that's what Apple should spend their cash hoard on...

I agree that the cell companies are not that great here in the States, but in their defense, there are a lot of hurdles they have to jump over every day. The U.S. has one of the most varying landscapes of any country in the world, from huge mountains to low valleys and everything in between. Extreme heat, extreme cold, wind, snow, sleet, hail. Our cities are oversaturated with concrete skyscrapers that suck up cell signal like they would crumble and fall without it. And that doesn't even begin to get into all the legal tape they have to cut through just to build their networks. I remember readin (I believe on this very site, among others) that it takes 18 months just for these companies to get APPROVAL to build new cell towers in San Francisco, and this doesn't include the time to build them, test them, etc.
post #27 of 79
Coming from T-Mobile, AT&T has been worse in all measurable ways. Price, service, coverage, you name it.

They don't even have 3G yet in my city of ~327,000. Literally every last other carrier (including T-Mo) has it here. If it weren't for the iPhone, I would never look at AT&T wireless service.

Sidenote: I'm super happy with their DSL and landline service. It's only the wireless that's a disaster.
post #28 of 79
Since when do Consumer Reports readers represent an accurate representation of the cell phone market place?
post #29 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by noexpectations View Post

This survey is flawed. All of the iPhone users are on a single network (AT&T). As everyone knows, iPhone users have a unique expectation level and they stress the network far above all other cell phone users. This has skewed the results.

More than half of the AT&T respondents were iPhone users. It would be interesting to see the survey results if you could take away the iPhone users.

Next year’s survey will become more meaningful when we can compare iPhone users on multiple carriers. (IE…how does a Verizon iPhone user compare with an AT&T iPhone user, T-Mobile, Sprint, etc).

In fact, Consumer reports should compare the same cell phones on various networks to get a “like for like” result. What’s the point of comparing a network full of voice/text users with a network that carries a lot of wireless internet traffic?


Skewed not only due to iPhones, but geographic region as well. Was the survey broken down to see how each carrier ranked in different regions?
post #30 of 79
I'm a longtime subscriber, and as I recall, AT&T has ended up their lowest-rated carrier for years, so this isn't exactly news. Hasn't stopped me from using AT&T for years; if you want a "real" nationwide GSM provider, they're the only game in town.

That being said, the current CR electronics "experts" are a serious bunch of jerks, with a blatant anti-Apple and particularly anti-iPhone bias; its really disgusting. IMHO the integrity of their tech staff has noticeably dropped over the years, as staff has turned over.
post #31 of 79
When the iPhone 3G shipped I saw a connectivity comparison with a Samsung BlackJack, another 3G smartphone. Along the same test route where the iPhone would routinely drop calls the BlackJack performed without issue.

More than a few people have speculated that the bulk of AT&T problems were being cause by the iPhone and a poorly implemented GSM stack. Some conspiracy types have even suggested the real reason the iPhone stayed exclusive to AT&T so long was because AT&T was willing to take the heat in regards to the connectivity problem rather than point their finger at the real problem, the iPhone.

Personally, I think it is a combination of a congested network and a phone that doesn't handle it very well. Whatever the case, people will now have a choice. And choice is good.

-kpluck

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post #32 of 79
AT&T has been great IMO. Coast to coast and international. Every carrier has it's problems and verizon's aren't just with their signal. VZ's customer support is a joke and their billing department is even worse. I hated my experience with VZ because of that. Otherwise I've had exactly the same coverage experience with ATT as VZ. There are pockets of no reception no matter who you are with.
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post #33 of 79
Never had a problem with T-Mobile reception. They might not have the fastest 3G service, but voice has never been a problem. Then again I only "tested" in Chicago, Milwaukee and San Francisco, so maybe other regions don't have it as good.
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post #34 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by zindako View Post

AT&T in NYC is quite horrible.

Agreed \
post #35 of 79
All iPhone users in the US are on a single network. But if AT&T is so great, why haven't there been outcries in other parts of the world about crappy service, especially when the iPhone was only on a single carrier in a given country? The only iPhone users who complain about their service are in the United States. So either iPhone users in the US are much more demanding than iPhone users in the rest of the world, or AT&T provides subpar service. I know which one I think is more likely.


Quote:
Originally Posted by noexpectations View Post

This survey is flawed. All of the iPhone users are on a single network (AT&T). As everyone knows, iPhone users have a unique expectation level and they stress the network far above all other cell phone users. This has skewed the results.

More than half of the AT&T respondents were iPhone users. It would be interesting to see the survey results if you could take away the iPhone users.

Next years survey will become more meaningful when we can compare iPhone users on multiple carriers. (IEhow does a Verizon iPhone user compare with an AT&T iPhone user, T-Mobile, Sprint, etc).

In fact, Consumer reports should compare the same cell phones on various networks to get a like for like result. Whats the point of comparing a network full of voice/text users with a network that carries a lot of wireless internet traffic?
post #36 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post

Wasn't this the same bunch of muppets who did the self promoting iPhone 4 write up last year?

I think their credibility rating shrank to zero after that. They could tell me the sun would rise tomorrow and I would still treat them with a dose of scepticism.

I object to your disparagement of characters as great and goodnatured as the muppets
post #37 of 79
My jailbroken 3G on T-Mobile gets much better signal now (really a night and day difference) than it did on AT&T.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kpluck View Post

When the iPhone 3G shipped I saw a connectivity comparison with a Samsung BlackJack, another 3G smartphone. Along the same test route where the iPhone would routinely drop calls the BlackJack performed without issue.

More than a few people have speculated that the bulk of AT&T problems were being cause by the iPhone and a poorly implemented GSM stack. Some conspiracy types have even suggested the real reason the iPhone stayed exclusive to AT&T so long was because AT&T was willing to take the heat in regards to the connectivity problem rather than point their finger at the real problem, the iPhone.

Personally, I think it is a combination of a congested network and a phone that doesn't handle it very well. Whatever the case, people will now have a choice. And choice is good.

-kpluck
post #38 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by sandiegan View Post

I have joined this forum to chime in with how much I hate AT&T. Their service is a complete and total joke. They regularly have no bars in places frequented by thousands of people daily. I hope AT&T dies in a terrible fire.

That pretty much makes you an asshole then.
post #39 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by kpluck View Post

When the iPhone 3G shipped I saw a connectivity comparison with a Samsung BlackJack, another 3G smartphone. Along the same test route where the iPhone would routinely drop calls the BlackJack performed without issue.

More than a few people have speculated that the bulk of AT&T problems were being cause by the iPhone and a poorly implemented GSM stack. Some conspiracy types have even suggested the real reason the iPhone stayed exclusive to AT&T so long was because AT&T was willing to take the heat in regards to the connectivity problem rather than point their finger at the real problem, the iPhone.

Personally, I think it is a combination of a congested network and a phone that doesn't handle it very well. Whatever the case, people will now have a choice. And choice is good.

-kpluck

My wife had nothing but problems with her iPhone 3g. We went round and round between AT&T & Apple but no luck.

Finally we were in the Apple Store last weekend and, lo and behold, they gave us a NEW iPhone 3g at no charge, even though the phone was out of warranty.

With the replacement, the iPhone no longer drops calls, freezes, stops browsing unexpectedly, etc. My wife stated she finally got the phone she was expecting all along.

I would not be surprised if a lot of the AT&T 'network' problems are really Apple software / hardware problems. I believe that they replaced the phone for free because its serial number was on a 'defect list'....
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post #40 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by noexpectations View Post

This survey is flawed. All of the iPhone users are on a single network (AT&T). As everyone knows, iPhone users have a unique expectation level and they stress the network far above all other cell phone users. This has skewed the results.

More than half of the AT&T respondents were iPhone users. It would be interesting to see the survey results if you could take away the iPhone users.

Next year’s survey will become more meaningful when we can compare iPhone users on multiple carriers. (IE…how does a Verizon iPhone user compare with an AT&T iPhone user, T-Mobile, Sprint, etc).

In fact, Consumer reports should compare the same cell phones on various networks to get a “like for like” result. What’s the point of comparing a network full of voice/text users with a network that carries a lot of wireless internet traffic?

Sorry, but Current Verizon users ( mainly Android smart phones) user more bandwidth than the average iPhone user...

http://news.cnet.com/8301-30686_3-20012011-266.html

The funny part for me is that I have better AT&T coverage near my home and my office ( rarely in the office ), but better Verizon coverage almost every where else...
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