AT&T Gets Last Place From Consumer Reports
November 29, 2012

Consumer Reports Lists AT&T Last Among Wireless Carriers

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

AT&T hasn´t always been spoken of fondly, especially by iPhone customers. In the days before the iPhone 4, and even afterwards, iPhone customers cursed AT&T almost daily as they dropped calls or waited forever (or 2 minutes) for a web page to load. The hate became less vocalized for a while until Big Blue announced this year they´d be forcing their customers with grandfathered unlimited data to switch to a new plan if they wanted to use FaceTime over their 4G networks. A few angry letters and allegations of net neutrality violations later, AT&T reversed this decision and opened up FaceTime for all.

Today, Consumer Reports has announced their annual carrier ratings, revealing that customers have yet to forgive AT&T for all their transgressions in years past. Their main competitor, Verizon, topped Consumer Reports´ list as the best overall national choice for customers looking for the best smartphones plans, but still scored below smaller, regional carriers. Sprint and T-Mobile landed in between Big Red and Big Blue.

The news wasn´t all bad for AT&T, however. Consumer Reports gave the carrier high marks for their 4G LTE service, saying their next-generation network beat out Verizon´s. Though Verizon had a nice head start on AT&T, it seems the nation´s second largest (by subscriber) carrier has been able to surpass Verizon.

“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,” writes Consumer Reports in their survey.

AT&T focused on the bright points of the report in a statement to Cnet, saying:

"While delivering an even better customer experience is a never-ending job, we're pleased that our customers rate their 4G experience as best of any carrier.”

"We've invested significantly to deliver unique advantages, including offering the nation's largest 4G network, which enables the fastest iPhone 5 downloads and simultaneous talk and surf."

AT&T often touts their network´s ability to allow customers to use data (surfing the web, downloading email, etc.) while on a call.

Due to technical limitations, phones on Verizon´s network can only do one or the other at once.

Verizon also beat out AT&T when it comes to their customer service marks. Other national carriers earned average to below average marks in this criteria, leaving AT&T at the bottom again, earning the “worst” marker.

Verizon scored very well overall, but when smaller, regional carriers were considered, they landed near the middle of the pack. In fact, these smaller carriers performed better than the big carriers in many aspects.

Consumer Cellular topped the charts at number one overall, with US Cellular and Credo Mobile coming in at numbers 2 and 3, respectively.

Interestingly enough, Consumer Cellular is a mobile virtual network operator, (MVNO) which means they run on other, larger networks.

Consumer Cellular, for instance, runs on AT&T´s network. Credo Mobile runs on Sprint´s network, which scored number 5 in the list of 7.