Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the fairest US carrier of them all? Why, it’s Verizon, of course, not according to the mirror in Snow White, but according to Consumer Reports, who’s just come out with its traditional end of the year ratings of all wireless communications service providers in the States.
Big Red is once again taking the crown of best major US carrier, while further down the ranks of the “Big Four” there are also no notable changes since last year. That means Sprint and T-Mobile are more or less tied in second place, with AT&T disappointingly coming in last again.
But it’s not just the second consecutive year AT&T ranks last. As a matter of fact, we can’t remember a yearly report ranking Ma Bell higher since 2009. But what exactly are the issues that make AT&T’s services so bad, based on the responses of more than 63,000 mobile subscribers? Well, in short, everything aside LTE.
AT&T has scored poorly in voice quality, data quality, staff knowledge and resolution of issues, while surprisingly its 4G LTE network was rated as the best and “least problematic” in the country. That certainly is not enough however for a carrier that’s currently serving over 100 million people, especially when LTE coverage is still not at its best. Not to mention there are folks that can’t afford or just don’t want an LTE-enabled device.
At the other end of the ranking, Verizon is top of the pack, receiving favorable scores for voice and data service quality, but also for staff knowledge and resolution of issues. Big Red’s LTE service on the other hand was found to be only satisfactory, so there are still kinks that need ironing out for the number one carrier in the States (both in this report and in number of subscribers).
Behind Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile both received “middling to low marks for voice and text service quality”. The duo doesn’t quite seem on track of challenging Verizon’s top spot, but both carriers are set to undergo major changes in the next year.
Sprint’s merger with Softbank and T-Mo’s partnership with MetroPCS are still pending regulatory approvals, but everything seems set for the transactions to get the go-ahead. You can’t really predict how will things change after these kinds of deals, but chances are both will step up their games, so AT&T definitely needs to do something and quick. Otherwise, we’ll be starting to have a new holiday tradition – bashing Ma Bell’s services each December.
A quick word about smaller carriers too. Consumer Cellular, US Cellular, Credo Mobile, TracFone and Virgin Mobile were just some of the providers that got high marks for value, voice and text, with the competition between all these being very evenly matched. All in all, USC seems to be the top rated prepaid carrier, followed by Credo Mobile and, surprise surprise, Verizon again.
As I’m sure this report will stir up controversy, I’m only going to say this once – please keep it civil in the comments and try to not let passion cloud your judgment. Now, who’s your favorite carrier and why?