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iPhone from Verizon Wireless? Hints Voice of the Customer Survey

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December 23, 2010

iPhone from Verizon Wireless? Hints Voice of the Customer Survey

By Rajani Baburajan, TMCnet Contributor

A recent report from Consumer Reports rates AT&T, iPhone 's wireless provider in the country, the lowest in customer satisfaction, based on a survey conducted on more than 58,000 consumers.

US Cellular, a regional carrier that provides service in 26 states in the United States, topped long-time leading provider Verizon Wireless (News - Alert). The company beat Verizon Wireless with outstanding marks for value, voice service and customer support. 

Sprint tied with Verizon for the next top position in the list while T-Mobile stood very close with them in voice service and customer support.

AT&T’s (News - Alert) scores, on the other hand, dropped significantly last year. Though its phone features, Web access, e-mail and text messaging scored high, voice quality continued to drop significantly, the report said.

This year’s Consumer Reports survey weighed in the service and customer support experiences with contract and no-contract providers.  

While Verizon Wireless retained its status as better performers Sprint (News - Alert) pulled even with the carrier in overall satisfaction.  Sprint, in fact, scored better than Verizon in some aspects of customer service. This trend, according to Consumer Reports, is a remarkable turnaround from past years when that was a weak point for the company.  T-Mobile (News - Alert) was only slightly behind those two carriers in overall satisfaction.

Among all cellular service providers AT&T was the only carrier whose scores for overall satisfaction dropped significantly since last year. More than half of the AT&T customers surveyed owned an iPhone. AT&T is the exclusive carrier for Apple’s (News - Alert) smartphone in the country.

Consumer Reports survey found that iPhone owners were much less satisfied with their carrier and rated data service (Web and e-mail) lower than owners of smart phones on other carriers that, like the iPhone, have a host of apps to encourage heavy data use.

“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 Report, in a statement.

One in five survey respondents were hit by what they call the “bill shock,” the survey said.

More than 90 percent of Consumer Reports survey respondents’ phones were serviced under a contract. Those with no-contract cell-phone service said they made far fewer calls and rarely used data, and perhaps due to their simpler needs were more satisfied overall.

The report also found that among no-contract service providers, Consumer Cellular scored highest for satisfaction followed by TracFone.  AT&T GoPhone was the worst provider in this category receiving relatively low marks for value and voice service.

AT&T countered the report by citing their own research that shows better results than Consumer Reports. In November, company officials circulated a report by the technical research company Root Metrics that showed zippy data links.

Meanwhile AT&T announced it is upgrading several cellular cites to enhance data links. Recently the company also announced that it will buy $1.93 billion worth of wireless spectrum from Qualcomm to add capacity to its forthcoming high–speed data network.

Rajani Baburajan is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Rajani's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Juliana Kenny

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