AT&T just can’t seem to shake the bad publicity that’s recently been riding its tail. Verizon Wireless is already bashing on AT&T’s 3G network for its spotty 3G coverage maps, and now Consumer Reports lists AT&T as the worst US wireless carrier as far as cellular service satisfaction is concerned. Consumer Reports surveyed some 50,000 consumers across 26 different cities in the US, and came away with the finding that Verizon Wireless was consistently ranked the best while AT&T consistently came in last. In fact, AT&T scored the lowest for customer satisfaction in 19 of the 26 surveyed cities.
The results for the iPhone carrier aren’t all that surprising, given the number of coverage and call quality complaints we hear coming out of densely packed cities. Major metro areas like San Francisco and New York both ranked the carrier dead last. Still, despite problems (both perceived and real) with AT&T’s network, iPhone users have repeatedly asserted their satisfaction with the smartphone. It seems no amount of crappy wireless service can keep an iPhone user from loving their device. Consumer Reports puts it best:
“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.”
So, now that AT&T has officially been named the country’s worst wireless carrier, what’s next for Apple and Big Blue? Apple surely can’t be happy seeing Verizon poo-poo the iPhone with Consumer Reports essentially announcing that the AT&T network is the worst in the country. We could see Apple giving T-Mobile a shot at iPhone glory – after all, T-Mobile is usually ranked high in consumer satisfaction surveys. We’ll probably also start seeing more AT&T commercials trying to convince everyone that simultaneous voice and data service is worth handfuls of dropped calls and disappointing service.
For what it’s worth, AT&T notes that their low churn rate of 1.17% should be the “surest indication of customer satisfaction.”