Another day, another survey indicating that iPhone users are generally happy with their Apple smartphone and with the AT&T wireless network. Market research boffins at Yankee Group have conducted a survey on iPhone users in the US, and the results speak for themselves. A strong 73% of Americans with a shiny iPhone in their pocket indicated that they are more than happy with AT&T as their carrier of choice circumstance.
As reported by CNN Money, the satisfaction with the iPhone’s de facto carrier in the US goes against the highly-publicized mud-slinging that has cast AT&T in a negative light over the past few years. From network meltdowns to dropped calls and unreliable wireless service, the carrier has been taking a lot of flack over the quality of its network. The Yankee Group believes that the No. 2 US wireless carrier is benefiting from the “halo effect” of the iPhone itself – it delivers an impressive enough smartphone experience that the positive sentiments associated with the Apple phone get transferred to AT&T.
Outside of this group of generally happy iPhone users, AT&T is only able to claim 68% of “very satisfied” users. When looking only at the group of smartphone customers, AT&T claims a 69% satisfaction rating.
The findings in this survey seem to go against popular opinion of AT&T. To be clear, we believe AT&T has the most compelling wireless network in the US. But, the theoretical awesomeness of the AT&T network doesn’t translate into real-world performance in places like San Francisco.
AT&T uses the GSM standard, which means you can simply put your SIM card into another phone and go about your day with a new handset. It also means that unlocked phones can travel between AT&T and virtually every other wireless carrier around the world. It boasts a 3G data network that consistently delivers speeds that make Verizon’s and Sprint’s 3G networks feel insecure about itself – all while allowing simultaneous voice and data transmissions. That last bit more important then you may realize, as data services become more ubiquitous through apps and web-apps, you’re not going to want to miss a call because you’re streaming Pandora music or be locked out of Google Maps because you’re trying to tell your friend where to go.
Despite all those positive points for the carrier, the wireless experience in cities like SF is still abysmal. The problem isn’t necessarily getting good reception – we get great reception throughout most of SF. The problem is that, even with a solid signal, data services will refuse to work, calls will drop (if they even go through), and don’t even try to use your phone at a public gathering. Given these problems, AT&T should be ecstatic about having a 73% satisfaction rating.