Consumer Reports rates mobile carriers

I remember going to the public library with my father as a child to page through the collection of Consumer Reports magazines that were hidden away in a dusty corner of the second floor. You see, my father used to religiously consult Consumer Reports before buying a car, though for some reason he still got conned into picking up a 1989 Ford Taurus wagon that stopped running every time it was warmer than 80 degrees outside. Questionable decisions aside, I’m pretty sure that my folks weren’t alone when it came to trusting Consumer Reports, such was the esteem that they once held with the educated consumer.

While Consumer Reports might not have the same caché that they once did, the magazine still knows a thing or two about conducting a consumer satisfaction survey. Which is why we should all sit up and pay attention to their annual survey of mobile phone customers. For the survey, Consumer Reports surveyed nearly 50,000 customers, on the topic of mobile phone service, which they characterized as being “among the lower rated services we survey.” Here are the overall ratings:

  • 1. Verizon Wireless: “among the better carriers this year and in our earlier surveys.”
  • 2. T-Mobile: “another solid performer that often offers more for your money.”
  • 3. Alltel: “One of the better providers in the three metro areas for which we had adequate survey data.”
  • 4. AT&T: “Home of iPhone, but trails the better carriers in almost all respects.”
  • 5. Sprint: in the “bottom ranks of carriers we rate.”

Now, it’s worth mentioning that the results of any survey like this are bound to be heavily influenced by geography–in my neck of the woods, for example, AT&T (one of the lower-ranked carriers in this study) has consistently good service whereas T-Mobile (one of the higher-ranked carriers) is often spotty. Still, it’s interesting to see results like these, even if they’re not necessarily representative of the whole. Thoughts? Sound off in the comments.

For more on the report:
– see this Gizmodo article


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