J.D. Power: U.S. mobile subscribers tend to prefer Apple and Samsung

October 18, 2013
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Apple iPhone 5s vs Samsung Galaxy S4 aa 9

When you think of smartphones, what brands come to mind as the very best? If you’re thinking Apple or Samsung, then you are in agreement with most mobile service subscribers in the U.S., at least according to a new J.D. Power survey.

Using a sample of 6,421 users from the four major U.S. carriers, the survey found that only Samsung and Apple rank above average in all four categories: performance, exterior design, features and ease of use. Samsung leads customer satisfaction on Sprint and T-Mobile’s networks, while Apple leads on Verizon and AT&T.

As for specific devices? When it comes to customer satisfaction across all four networks, the top devices are the Apple iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy Note 2, Blackberry Z10 and Nokia Lumia 920. It’s interesting that the top four devices represent all four (major) mobile operating systems.

Turning to overall device satisfaction by network, AT&T came out on top followed by Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon.

It's very interesting to see that satisfaction performance differs by smartphone brand across Tier 1 carriers. This indicates that carrier services and how these carriers position specific features and services on their devices influence the experience customers have with their smartphone device.
Kirk Parsons
J.D. Power senior director

As alluded to by J.D. Power’s Kirk Parson, an interesting take away is that often our perceptions of a particular device only have so much to do with the actual phone’s hardware and software. How your network performs or how your phone is marketed on said network can have just as big of an impact.

Of equal importance, certain networks target different types of audiences, which can equally affect what phones we choose. For example, T-Mobile customers tend to value price, whereas Sprint customer value features and Verizon customers value the strength of the company’s 4G LTE network.

In the grand scheme of things, J.D. Power’s sampling of users pales in comparison to the 300+ million mobile subscribers that you’ll find in the U.S., but it does give us a rough picture of how consumers feel about different brands and networks. Being honest, we doubt that too many folks are surprised to see Samsung and Apple on top, though.

What about your own experiences, which network do you find provides the most satisfying phone experience? Which smartphone brand do you tend to prefer?

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