Survey names Verizon the best US carrier, AT&T the worst

By on November 29, 2012, 4:00 PM

Consumer Reports has released its annual cellular service report with findings that are similar to last year's. After surveying 63,253 cellular subscribers across 23 metropolitan markets, Consumer Reports determined Verizon Wireless to be the highest-rated provider among the four major US telecoms, scoring relatively well when it comes to voice and data quality, staff knowledge and issue resolution.

Verizon was followed by Sprint, T-Mobile and AT&T, with the last outfit scoring the worst in call quality, value and customer service. Of note, although Consumer Reports labeled Verizon the "Cadillac" of cellular providers, its LTE service ranked worse than AT&T's. Verizon's LTE network covers about twice as many people as AT&T's (300 million versus 150 million), but participants complained less about AT&T's offering.

It's also worth mentioning that none of the big carriers had a total score higher than 72 out of 100, and while Verizon technically scored the best among major providers, it actually ranked fourth on Consumer Reports' list.

Interestingly, respondents found the best provider to be Consumer Cellular, a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that focuses on contract-free plans and it happens to rely on AT&T's network which, again, supposedly scored the worst. US Cellular was found to be the second-best provider, while Credo Mobile (an MVNO that uses Sprint's network) claimed third place.

The full results are locked behind a subscription and will be available in Consumer Reports' January 2013 issue.

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