AT&T rated worst wireless provider for second year in a row

By on December 6, 2011, 1:30 PM

AT&T has been rated the worst wireless provider for the second year in a row according to a new satisfaction survey by Consumer Reports online subscribers. The survey polled over 66,000 wireless customers regarding service and customer support experience with standard and no-contract providers.

Among the four major US providers, Verizon scored the highest once again. Survey takers gave good marks to Verizon for texting and data service and staff knowledge. Sprint followed Verizon with a close second place rating. T-Mobile took home the bronze medal but was still significantly better than AT&T.

Paul Reynolds, electronics editor for Consumer Reports, says that the survey indicates that subscribers to prepaid and smaller providers are the happiest overall with their cell phone service. He notes, however, that these carriers aren’t for everyone. Some are regional and prepaid carriers tend to offer few or no smartphones. The major carriers are still the leading option for many customers.

Outside of the four major carriers, a prepaid provider called Consumer Cellular was ranked best overall. Consumer Cellular offers no-contract plans starting at only $10.00 per month.

Earlier this year, Verizon once again beat out the three other major carriers in a J.D. Power and Associates survey. Verizon scored 770 out of 1,000 possible points while AT&T finished in last place with 751 points.

A full report from 22 metropolitan markets can be found in the January 2012 issue of Consumer Reports.




User Comments: 22

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Guest said:

I am not surprised. lol

Tomorrow_Rains said:

And they wanted to bring T-mobile down with them

Guest said:

They want to buy T-Mobile so next year they are in 3rd place ;)

LinkedKube LinkedKube, TechSpot Project Baby, said:

Verizon better be the best. I'm paying 118 a month for it.

JohnnyNonStop said:

Sprint is super solid! Besides their 4G coverage kinda blows.......but everything else works well. F$%K AT&T seriously.....they piss me off just as much as Com-Cast!

KG363 KG363 said:

I've never understood the AT&T hate. I've been a customer of their wireless (previously cingular) for 15 years and have had nothing but good things to say.

veLa veLa said:

kg363 said:

I've never understood the AT&T hate. I've been a customer of their wireless (previously cingular) for 15 years and have had nothing but good things to say.

It has to do with the terrible coverage, how late they got into the 4G game, the amount of dropped calls, and they also try to tack on fees for everything. When I say that AT&T has put the least amount of work into their network it is incredibly apparent.

Another reason is because AT&T are liars. Call them up and ask a question and get the answer you didn't want, hang up call again and you'll get a different person who will give you a different answer, If that doesn't threaten to stop paying them and they'll give you 6 months for free.

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

The way I see it, the national consensus is that AT&T is bad. But if you go to specific areas where the service is actually good, naturally consumers are going to report they are happy with the service. Where I live (Florida), AT&T practically dominates the wireless market, and I have to admit that at least around South Florida, they are the best at what they do. Verizon around where I live is horrible. To me, as a wireless service, both AT&T and Verizon a on par, as both companies have certain areas around the country where their signal is either weak (lack of cellular towers) or simply non-existent.

The only place where I would rate AT&T as the worst, would be in actual customer service. Their department is terrible. And that's would be an understatement.

Also they only reason AT&T was "late" to the 4G party, was because their enhanced backhaul includes HSPA+ speeds when you fall from 4G LTE coverage, whereas on Verizon if you fall from LTE, you go all the way down to 3G, and in some areas to EDGE. I would prefer a consistent speedy service, than a rushed out the door speedy service that lacks it.

veLa veLa said:

lawfer said:

The way I see it, the national consensus is that AT&T is bad. But if you go to specific areas where the service is actually good, naturally consumers are going to report they are happy with the service. Where I live (Florida), AT&T practically dominates the wireless market, and I have to admit that at least around South Florida, they are the best at what they do. Verizon around where I live is horrible. To me, as a wireless service, both AT&T and Verizon a on par, as both companies have certain areas around the country where their signal is either weak (lack of cellular towers) or simply non-existent.

The only place where I would rate AT&T as the worst, would be in actual customer service. Their department is terrible. And that's would be an understatement.

Also they only reason AT&T was "late" to the 4G party, was because their enhanced backhaul includes HSPA+ speeds when you fall from 4G LTE coverage, whereas on Verizon if you fall from LTE, you go all the way down to 3G, and in some areas to EDGE. I would prefer a consistent speedy service, than a rushed out the door speedy service that lacks it.

http://www.att.com/network/

If you call that good HSPA+ coverage than you must be joking. AT&T's HSPA+ and LTE coverage isn't even a 3rd of Verizon's 4G coverage.

MrAnderson said:

I have an iPhone on ATT and I don't have any issues I have not heard my friends complain about on any other service provider. Anytime I have called for the past 5 years, I have not waited longer than 6 minutes and my issues were addressed. I think people are still bitter. I'd like to see the survey information. What were the issues? Sure I don't like ATT prices, but I'm not seeing that much of a difference with the competition. Prices are pretty similar for the services I want. Tell you one thing... after dropping my grandfathered unlimited data (which killed me) and dropping texting and opting to use a data SMS provider... I went from 90+ to 65 bucks on my bill. The data plan caps really are not cool, but I did notice I'm not in trouble of going over on my phone at least. This does not justify ALL the pone companies trying to get me used to the limitation hanging over my head, but I don't see much of a difference in ATT service and the others to be honest.

p51d007 said:

I've never had an issue with the blue marble. Been with them since leaving Alltel in 2000. Was with AT&T Wireless, then when they were bought by Cingular, stayed with them when they switched to AT&T. I'm in a mid-sized market (200,000), 3G coverage everywhere I travel in 5-6 counties. Yeah, their data can be just a bit slow at times. A couple dropped calls a month. The only real gripe I have is when I walk into a corporate store. Other than the orange interior, it's like walking into an Apple store. Same with their website. I think given the choice, the only phone they would sell would be iPhone.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Listen to you all, "AT&T you even drop to the slow 3G speeds". You've got to be kidding!?

What I would give to get 3G signal, even a third of the time, would be amazing.

Most the time i'm on 2.5G.

Wish the UK would catch up with the rest of the world

hahahanoobs hahahanoobs said:

supersmashbrada said:

Verizon better be the best. I'm paying 118 a month for it.

Word is Verizon is making the most money out of their iPhone sales versus the other top two US providers. I'm Canadian and I hate AT&T. lol. Being this bad they aren't helping anyone, including themselves.

Guest said:

I remember the days when my workmates would go outside to smoke. Now my ATT subscribed workmates have to go outside to talk on their phones with the smokers.

Guest said:

Pssssh

They probably will wear this as a badge of honor...

I don't understand how they stay in business with this poor /shoddy service.

personally haven't had a AT&T phone line in years.. never will.

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

veLa said:

lawfer said:

The way I see it, the national consensus is that AT&T is bad. But if you go to specific areas where the service is actually good, naturally consumers are going to report they are happy with the service. Where I live (Florida), AT&T practically dominates the wireless market, and I have to admit that at least around South Florida, they are the best at what they do. Verizon around where I live is horrible. To me, as a wireless service, both AT&T and Verizon a on par, as both companies have certain areas around the country where their signal is either weak (lack of cellular towers) or simply non-existent.

The only place where I would rate AT&T as the worst, would be in actual customer service. Their department is terrible. And that's would be an understatement.

Also they only reason AT&T was "late" to the 4G party, was because their enhanced backhaul includes HSPA+ speeds when you fall from 4G LTE coverage, whereas on Verizon if you fall from LTE, you go all the way down to 3G, and in some areas to EDGE. I would prefer a consistent speedy service, than a rushed out the door speedy service that lacks it.

http://www.att.com/network/

If you call that good HSPA+ coverage than you must be joking. AT&T's HSPA+ and LTE coverage isn't even a 3rd of Verizon's 4G coverage.

Next time, before you counter-argue me, actually read and understand my argument. Who is even talking about actual coverage? All I said was that the reason AT&T took so long to get into the 4G bandwagon, was because their were enhancing their network to work with two lawyers of wireless standards: HSPA+ (real 4G), and 4G LTE.

Whether you are covered by Verizon or not, if you happen to lose LTE connection, on their network, you will fallback to 3G, not HSPA+. In some cases, you fall to EDGE, where speeds could go down to anywhere between 75 to 135Kbps. Verizon's backhaul was not enhanced to support both layers, because they wanted to be the first to push the LTE.

nirvanafr3ak said:

AT&T customer support is the worst. I work as a computer tech and I deal with AT&T almost daily. The majority of their staff is incompetent. On a personal note, I got their internet a while back for their 12 months special offer. All of the sudden my internet connection drops and I spent over 2 days trying chase down someone who can actually help me out. At one point one of the representative actually transferred me on purpose because it was almost past their work hours. The next day I got in contact with a manager and after everything he told me it would take two weeks to send out a tech and check it out(they usually have to visit at least twice, because they love sending the wrong type of tech). Finally, he seriously commented that if I was displeased to just cancel the service.........unbelievable! I asked him to retract the early contract cancellation fee and I cancelled. Literally, the next day I had a Comcast tech installing my internet and was ready to go by the time he left. Comcast may not be perfect, but their service and customer support is light years beyond AT&T.

PS: AT&T is a very big company who can afford to get away with this sort of bull****. I am glad they are finally getting some bad publicity.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

lawfer said:

Whether you are covered by Verizon or not, if you happen to lose LTE connection, on their network, you will fallback to 3G, not HSPA+. In some cases, you fall to EDGE, where speeds could go down to anywhere between 75 to 135Kbps. Verizon's backhaul was not enhanced to support both layers, because they wanted to be the first to push the LTE.

All I want in the UK is at least EDGE speeds! I would be grateful if my phone "went down" to 3G speeds! :P

NTAPRO NTAPRO said:

I don't like them as my isp either LOL

Guest said:

I'm glad you have good service with AT&T, but the vast majority (obviously) do not. As a former customer I don't hate them, but their customer service and lack of coverage were as bad as when I had Sprint. I have Verizon now and they have been excellent at both customer service and coverage over the last 1-1/2 years so far. Not trying to plug Verizon here, but I will accept advertising dollars please, thank you, lol.

amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

AT&T and Sprint are garbage.

Lots of features and great phones, but awful signal unless your in a City, etc.

Verizon has overpriced phones, crap contracts and terrible customer service but thier signal is by far the best.

3DCGMODELER 3DCGMODELER said:

as soon as my contract runs out I go to Verizon...

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