In an all-time worst rating for a carrier ever recorded by ChangeWave, the research firm said AT&T subscribers reported that about 4.5% of their calls were dropped over the previous three months.
Coming in second for the period was Sprint, whose users reported 2.4% dropped calls and T-Mobile customers, who reported a dropped-call rate of 2.8%, was third. Verizon Wireless customers reported the least amount of dropped calls at 1.5 percent, the lowest ever recorded in the survey.
The March survey by ChangeWave polled more than 4,000 cell phone subscribers in the U.S. and Canada.
Nearly half (49%) of Verizon's customers reported being very satisfied with their cellular service, with Sprint/Nextel coming in second with a 35% satisfaction rating, and T-Mobile and AT&T tying at third place with a 23% rating.
Respondents were also asked how likely they are to switch wireless providers over the next 90 days. Only 8% said they plan to make a change -- matching the lowest level recorded in a ChangeWave survey.
At the provider level, 7% of Verizon's customers and 8% of AT&T's said they planned to switch. Sprint/Nextel (10%) and T-Mobile (14%) lagged behind the two industry leaders. Due to a huge influx of Motorola Droid buyers, Verizon showed a jump in new customers compared with ChangeWave's previous survey. In the current survey, the percentage of customers who said they would switch to Verizon dropped to 27%.
Despite AT&T's low rating in customer satisfaction and dropped calls, its mainstay can be attributed to the huge advantage it has as the exclusive U.S. service provider for the Apple iPhone. One of the survey's key findings pertained to how likely non-AT&T customers would be to buy an Apple iPhone if it becomes available on their current provider.
Among Verizon, Sprint/Nextel and T-Mobile subscribers, a whopping 49% said they are very or somewhat likely to buy an iPhone for themselves or someone else if it becomes available on their carrier. And the number rose higher among Verizon Wireless subscribers: 19% said they would be very likely and 34% responded somewhat likely to buy a Verizon iPhone.
In comparison, 11% of Sprint/Nextel customers said they would be very likely and 33% said somewhat likely to buy an iPhone if it becomes available. Among T-Mobile customers, 11% said very likely and 28% said somewhat likely.