Consumer Reports Ranks Verizon Top National Carrier, AT&T Worst

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The annual review of U.S. mobile carriers from Consumer Reports [subscription required to view full report] finds that Verizon is the best national choice for most customers looking for a full-featured smartphone plan. AT&T, Verizon’s top rival nationally, scored lowest among the carriers evaluated in the report, with Sprint and T-Mobile falling in between.

Consumer Reports 2012 Mobile Rankings

With its superior scores and wide array of marquee phones, Verizon is your best bet overall among national carriers. AT&T, though it rates lower than Verizon in most respects, is also worth considering for want-it-all types because of its top 4G network rating and lower pricing for people who have lighter data, voice, and messaging needs.

A bright spot for AT&T, the nation’s second-largest carrier by subscribers, is the measured performance of its 4G network. Despite Verizon's large head start in rolling out 4G coverage, AT&T scored highest in this category, with Verizon tied for second place.

Beyond the purely technical performance of their networks, only Verizon scored better than average on customer support criteria. Other national carriers scored at or below average, with AT&T’s phone support receiving a “worst” mark.

While Verizon scored best overall, it and other national carriers were rated lower than some regional carriers and Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) -- including Consumer Cellular, U.S. Cellular, and Credo Mobile -- depending on the needs of each customer. For example, those without the need for full-featured smartphone plans or those who need to buy a mix of smartphones and feature phones would be best suited with a plan from U.S. Cellular.

Apple’s iPhone is currently available in the U.S. on Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint, along with a number of regional carriers throughout the country. For current and prospective iPhone owners, rankings from Consumer Reports help establish basic performance levels, but each carrier is only as good as its quality in a customer’s intended service area.

As a result, Verizon’s top ranking this year is a good sign for the company, but should not deter customers from sticking with other national or regional carriers if service in each customer’s area is adequate.

Teaser graphic made with help from Shutterstock.

[via BGR]

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10 Comments Leave Your Own

Lee Dronick

Interesting is that my sister hates her Verizon account and I am satisfied with my AT&T account. Of course everyone’s milage varies.

Eugene Bouley

I have been with ATT for 15 years and I have never had a problem with my service, cjustomer service or my account.  One great feature of ATT is that if you stay with them, your total cost for the service does not change, even if you upgrade your phone. All you commit to is a 2-year contract. I have a total cost for my iPhone 5 service that no one can match.

FlipFriddle

Verizon is great until you try to cancel an account. Then it’s like trying to get out of the mob.

JimCan

After discovering that Verizon was ‘cramming’ (new word to me..) my business landline bill with $15mo charges from ‘DietClubofAm’ - we deleted our home landline, their cell service and DSL for the business.  In my area they were the ‘sole source’ .. No longer.  We live 6mi from a ATT cell tower, but will never go back to those b—tards. 

Their response to this surfer/kitesurfer was; “Well someone in your company must have signed up for this site.”  Slime.

BurmaYank

Whatever Consumer Reports says about a product lately (i.e. the last few years) I’ve learned to assume is not only false, but probably completely false.

cable guy jc

AS A FIELD TECH AND OUTDOOR LOVER, IVE BEEN ALL OVER THE PLACE, REMOTE AREAS, CITIES, TALL BUILDINGS, BASEMENTS, UNDERGROUNDS, TUNNELS, MOUNTAINS AND LONG DISTANCE TRIPS, FISHING, DOING WORK FOR RESIDENTIALS AND COMMERCIALS.  I HAVE DONE MY OWN TESTING AND I KNOW WHICH ONE WORKS THE BEST IN EVERY CATEGORY. MY 1ST CELL WAS WITH “GTE” WHICH IS VERIZON NOW, I’VE TRIED ALL MAJOR WIRELESS CARRIERS SINCE 1994 BUT END UP MYSELF KEEP GOING BACK TO VERIZON BECAUSE THE NATURE OF WORK AND ACTIVITIES I HAVE ONLY VERIZON WORKS. BELEIVE ME, EVEN ON MY OWN SURVEY BY TALKING TO MY CUSTOMERS, MAJORITY OF THEM, 90% THEY HATED ATT BECAUSE OF THE RELIABILITY. THIS 90% WERE VERIZON SUBSCRIBERS. I PERSONALY DON’T KNOW WHERE TO GO IF VERIZON WILL BE GONE. THAT’S HOW I FEEL!

Neal

Consumer reports is a bunch of clowns. If everyone went by them we would be driving the Ford Focus over Cadillacs, Beamers, and the Benz. They are udiots and are disproven and discredited constantly. These surveys are based on customer support which in fact Verizon does have better service. However network coverage is the most important factor. I have lived all over the United States and I can tell you for a fact AT&T’s network has the best coverage nationally, ESPECIALLY 4G and Worldwide! It’s not even close to be honest. As well, look who the market decides is the better carrier, AT&T gets all the phones waaayyy before Verizon does (iPhone, Galaxy Note and Note 2, iPads and other tablets as well. And what they fail mention is that AT&T’s in store service reps constantly score well above any other carriers in store representatives. What a bogus report done by a bunch of clowns

jonsan

I am in complete agreement with BurmaYank!  I don’t subscribe to any of their stuff or recommend them to anybody.  Quite the contrary.  I wonder what happened to them?  Money?  It’s hard to find reliable reports anymore.

BurmaYank

“Consumer Reports Ranks Verizon Top National Carrier, AT&T Worst”
Maybe so, but AT&T gave us a free MicroCell signal retransmitter (and IIRC, also gave one to John Martellaro) because our cellphone reception was always too weak at home, and I’ve never had anything but excellent customer service from them.

Verizon’s customer service, on the contrary, has ALWAYS seemed to have the deeply ingrained policy of “Just tell the customer whatever it takes to get him to end this call soon, to keep the call traffic moving, and for godsake, NEVER ADMIT THAT YOU ARE actually GUESSING about what you just told him, or THAT YOU REALLY DON’T KNOW what you have said.

cable guy jc

hahaha…guys it’s proven i’m the one of the tech that finishes my route early everyday and found out i have most of the jobs get done too and that makes my rank top of the list in my company. Why? because i have my personal phone w verizon as a backup in case weak, slow and even no signal at all with my company’s ATT phone provided. but I end up using my own personal phone more often coz of the speed and strong signal at all times. side by side with my trainee riding along with me he drops call almost everytime and can not provision his modem and disconnects him in the middle of provisioning modems he ends up calling dispatch to help him using my personal to call. now my company is considering moving now to verizon since they found out the secret of my success!

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