December 6, 2010
Consumer Reports recently surveyed its readers about the performance of the major wireless networks across the U.S. The survey revealed that those readers rate AT&T as the worst wireless provider in every single city, as well as the worst in general. Ouch. In 2009, at least AT&T managed to rank second-to-last.
The survey this year asked readers to rate the quality of voice calls, text messages, and wireless data, in addition to customer support for various functions. AT&T earned the lowest ratings for each and every category with the exception of text messaging, in which it earned the second-to-worst rating. AT&T's total score was 60 points. By way of comparison, T-Mobile earned 69 points, Sprint scored 73 points, Verizon Wireless scored 74 points, and U.S. Cellular scored 82 points. Consumer Reports points out that scores closer than 4 points don't reflect an appreciable difference, meaning the difference between T-Mobile and Sprint isn't all that noticeable, and the difference between Sprint and Verizon isn't all that noticeable. AT&T, of course, responded to the report with a statement: "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. Hard data from independent drive tests confirms AT&T has the nation's fastest mobile broadband network with our nearest competitor 20 percent slower on average nationwide and our largest competitor 60 percent slower on average nationwide. And, our dropped call rate is within 1/10 of a percent - the equivalent of just one call in a thousand - of the industry leader." The problem with AT&T's statement is that it hasn't provided access to the "hard data from independent drive tests," so we can't verify what AT&T claims. For such a well-known publication to rate AT&T as the worst wireless provider across the country (based on what its members say) is damaging no matter how you look at it. Of course, this is the same well-known publication that won't recommend the iPhone 4 due to the "death grip" issue. Apple sold 14.1 million iPhones during its most recent fiscal quarter.
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