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?

Comments

  • Luke Kallam

    Interesting that Verizon scored the least in customer satisfaction despite having the largest network… Oh well, T-Mobile is probably barely ahead of them and honestly, T-Mobile has LTE everywhere I’ve gone so far.

    • MasterMuffin

      that’s not interesting, I haven’t heard anyone saying how good Verizon is :D

      • Cole Raney

        I have, however I really dislike Verizon. AT&T is no angel either, but they are the only network outside of Verizon that I can actually get signal when I travel to my hometown.

        • MasterMuffin

          Well I know nothing about coverage (’cause I don’t live in USA) so I just have to believe in you :)

          • Cole Raney

            Well, to give you some perspective, earlier this year Verizon got LTE in my hometown of Carmi, Illinois with a population of 5,500, where the closest metropolitan area is about 40 miles away. In that same town All tel, which was bought by Verizon but still exists in some areas so Verizon is not a monopoly, has 3G service there. AT&T has no towers in the town, but goes off of Alltel’s towers, giving AT&T 2G service.

            In my current city of Champaign-Urbana, Illinois (technically 2 cities, but really should just be one city) just got LTE from AT&T in August and the city has a population of 124,000. Verizon had LTE in a town of 5,500 before AT&T had LTE in a city of 124,000, and AT&T is the second biggest U.S. carrier.

            For AT&T most of Southern Illinois is on 2G service, while some places have HSPA+. As far as I know there are no LTE areas in Southern Illinois from AT&T, unless it is close to St. Louis, Missouri. Illinois is better than a lot of states though, like Wisconsin.

          • MasterMuffin

            Sounds like Verizon is kicking ass in coverage then!

          • wezi427

            I live in the Philadelphia area and I can honestly say that I’ve never had a dropped call in 8 plus years. People will say that is bull$hit, but it is true.

  • MITM

    mofos just choose whatever they have, unless its really crappy

  • RanRu

    Funny, I’ve read several articles about the iPhone 5 having significant problems lagging, crashing, and the fingerprint sensor refusing to cooperate, which leads me to the sneaking suspicion that iPhone users are lying.

    • Lee

      S as in school.iPhone 5s?

      • RanRu

        Yes. iPhone 5S. :-)

  • chanman

    It’s really not that interesting that the most satisfied handset users represent all 4 major operating systems because it doesn’t seem like this survey controlled for cognitive dissonance. When consumers buy a product, they look for positive reinforcement of their purchase, especially if it’s a high-involvement purchase like buying a smartphone. If they’re buying the flagship device of that operating system, then they’re going to expect it to perform extraordinarily, especially for the money they paid. In their usage of the phone, they’ll remember the experiences that are consistent with this expectation and discard from memory those that aren’t.
    If you buy a cheaper, non-flagship device, then yeah, you’re going to accept the fact that it has flaws, more likely remember when it happens, and report lower satisfaction.

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