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Consumer Reports: AT&T Still Stinks
AT&T Stuck in Last Place Among Major Carriers
by Karl Bode 02:52PM Tuesday Dec 06 2011
In what's becoming an annual tradition, Consumer Reports has once again ranked AT&T last among all wireless providers for the second consecutive year. The survey, which polled 66,000 subscribers on their service and customer-support experience, ranked Verizon the highest, followed "closely" by Sprint. T-Mobile came in third, but still "significantly better than the higher-priced AT&T." The magazine did have some nice things to say about smaller regional prepaid operators:
quote:
"Our survey indicates that subscribers to prepaid and smaller standard-service providers are happiest overall with their cell-phone service,” said Paul Reynolds, electronics editor for Consumer Reports. “However, these carriers aren’t for everyone. Some are only regional, and prepaid carriers tend to offer few or no smart phones.The major carriers are still leading options for many consumers, and we found they ranged widely in how well they satisfied their customers."
Since initially struggling to handle the iPhone, AT&T has developed a reputation for putting investor returns a little too far ahead of the network or customers, and generally scores last in studies of this kind, be they from Consumer Reports, the ACSI, or J.D. Power and Associates. Sprint meanwhile continues to see steady gains in these surveys after their disastrous acquisition of Nextel.

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ilikeme
I live in a van down by the river.
Premium
join:2002-08-27
Sugar Land, TX
kudos:1

No problems with AT&T here

I have not had any problems with AT&T in quite a while. In fact, around here it usually has better coverage than any of the other carriers. Also, the data is much faster.
en103

join:2011-05-02

Re: No problems with AT&T here

I don't have issues in the (north) Los Angeles area where I use it.
xenophon

join:2007-09-17

Re: No problems with AT&T here


Fronkman
An Apple a day keeps the doctor away
Premium
join:2003-06-23
Saint Louis, MO

Re: No problems with AT&T here

i put absolutely no stock in a magazine that publishes "statistical" information with no standard deviation and is derived from surveys with a 6% response rate. (»www.allpar.com/cr.html)

please don't think i am defending at&t here, i have had bad customer service from them as well as verizon.
--
Everyone should own a Mac! Go Bucks!

PapaMidnight

join:2009-01-13
Baltimore, MD

Re: No problems with AT&T here

said by Fronkman:

i put absolutely no stock in a magazine that publishes "statistical" information with no standard deviation and is derived from surveys with a 6% response rate. (»www.allpar.com/cr.html)

Even I can't argue that point (you listening, Nielsen?).

PapaMidnight

join:2009-01-13
Baltimore, MD
said by en103:

I don't have issues in the (north) Los Angeles area where I use it.

No kidding? I couldn't wait to leave AT&T for Cingular when I lived in Los Angeles... then AT&T bought Cingular and back to AT&T I was.... There's just no escaping the Death Star it seems.

pcdebb
RIP lil hurricane
Premium
join:2000-12-03
Brandon, FL
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Bright House
Interesting. I previously stayed away from AT&T at all costs because of what others said. I've only had them a short time, but it's been pretty much flawless. My T-Mobile service was horrible at best.
--
| map your city |

n2jtx

join:2001-01-13
Glen Head, NY

Odd Results

While I have no doubt AT&T's abysmal customer satisfaction is true, I have question their network performance results. In terms of iPhone performance, their HSPA service does best Verizon and is light years ahead of Sprint which is my provider. Sprint CS is better but their 3G performance for the iPhone is absolutely horrible. At times, dialup would be faster.
--
I support the right to keep and arm bears.

siouxmoux2

@sbcglobal.net

Ever Notice that you get Perfect ATT Reception at the Apple

Ever Notice that you get Perfect ATT Reception at the Apple HQ in Cupertino CA. But for the rest of Bay Area is Still stinks big time.

Gbcue
Premium
join:2001-09-30
Santa Rosa, CA
kudos:8
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse

Re: Ever Notice that you get Perfect ATT Reception at the Apple

said by siouxmoux2 :

Ever Notice that you get Perfect ATT Reception at the Apple HQ in Cupertino CA. But for the rest of Bay Area is Still stinks big time.

I got perfect T-Mobile reception when I was there.
--
My Blog 2.2

Pirate515
Premium
join:2001-01-22
Brooklyn, NY
said by siouxmoux2 :

Ever notice that you get perfect AT&T reception at the Apple HQ in Cupertino, CA. But for the rest of Bay Area it still stinks big time.

If that's the case, then why do I get a feeling that AT&T put a ton of micro-cells all over Apple campus. Apple has more than enough bandwidth to feed these cells. The only thing from what I hear is when you are connected to a micro-cell, the carrier banner reflects the fact that it's a micro-cell accordingly as opposed to just showing "AT&T" when connected to actual network, but I'm sure that they can be modded to give the end user a false impression.
--
Ask me no questions, and I'll tell you no lies...
A MESSAGE to the RIAA and the MPAA: You shouldn't wound what you can't kill...
pegasusx

join:2005-03-29

Re: Ever Notice that you get Perfect ATT Reception at the Apple

The Apple campus has its own AT&T towers (put up just for Apple) and Verizon as well. Not sure about Sprint, but very likely.

axiomatic

join:2006-08-23
Tomball, TX

The real question....

Does AT&T care at all that they are last?

Obviously not. It's all about the shareholder over at the Death Star.

michieru
Premium
join:2009-07-25
Miami, FL

.

I have a MetroPCS HTC Wildfire S under CDMA 1XRTT. Data is slow but I mostly use my wifi connection when available.

The_ANoN

@charter.com

My reception is average

I live in Buford, GA and I get about 1-3 signal bars on average... Have never seen my phone showing the full 5 signal bars... I have a Samsung Infuse and my bro has Iphone 3Gs...We get the same reception..

iguessimcool

@yscriticalcare.com

Churn rates show otherwise

AT&T's all time record low churn rates indicate that customers are happier with them than they are with Sprint, T-Mobile and most of the other smaller players. (Happy enough not to leave)

Churn rates are better barometers of customer satisfaction than anecodtal non scientific reports generated by pro-consumer anti-corporate firms.

Have you ever read Consumer Reports on Washing machines and other electronics. Often times they are well off the mark.

David
I start new work on
Premium,VIP
join:2002-05-30
Granite City, IL
kudos:101
Reviews:
·DIRECTV
·AT&T Midwest
·magicjack.com
·Google Voice

Re: Churn rates show otherwise

said by iguessimcool :

Have you ever read Consumer Reports on Washing machines and other electronics. Often times they are well off the mark.

That ain't no s**t they were well off on the washer me and the wife decided to purchase which was a "top rated model" by them.

I was just glad I got the extended warranty that cost the company selling it to me $600 to fix (I paid $150 for the warranty) when the drive system bearings went out and the tub would no longer spin to the proper speeds it was supposed to.
--
If you have a topic in the direct forum please reply to it or a post of mine, I get a notification when you do this.
Koetting Ford, Granite City, illinois... YOU'RE FIRED!!

vzw emp

@144.191.148.x
Possibly. But have you taken into account the $175 - $350 ETF? I know the only thing that kept me at the Death Star was the ETF (and back then there was no "pro-rated" ETF). The extra cash may have something to do with keeping some of those customers with AT&T (especially while they had an exclusive on the iPhone).

fatness
subtle
Premium,ex-mod 01-13
join:2000-11-17
fishing
kudos:14
said by iguessimcool :

AT&T's all time record low churn rates

Compared to what?

Looks like they're just a tad above Verizon.
quote:
AT&T total churn: 1.28%
AT&T postpaid churn: 1.15% (this actually went up .01% versus 3rd Q year ago, but to be fair when you exclude their Alltel and Centennial migrations their postpaid churn would have been 1.11%)

VZW total churn: 1.26%
VZW postpaid churn: 0.94%
»www.city-data.com/forum/cell-pho···-21.html

voicestream1

@yscriticalcare.com

Re: Churn rates show otherwise

Check out Sprint's and T-Mobile's churn rates. Way worse than AT&T's.

If customers hated AT&T so much they'd leave and wouldn't be signing up in record numbers and they wouldn't stay.

I feel there is a collective force behind the media to smear AT&T every chance they get.

AT&T does deserve to be called out when they do something dumb but the constant barrash consisting of anti-business consumer watch groups and paid internet bashers shows a disturbing agenda. Reminds me of reading about the Salem witch trials here in our own country of long ago.

What's sad is that most of these hippies who bitch about AT&T and the industry in general are usually the tin foil hat people complaining about a cell site near their kids elementary school or firehouse.

Gbcue
Premium
join:2001-09-30
Santa Rosa, CA
kudos:8

Re: Churn rates show otherwise

People can't leave AT&T because the ETF is so high.

People leave Sprint and T-Mobile for the iPhone.
--
My Blog 2.2

notsoCheap

@yscriticalcare.com

Re: Churn rates show otherwise

Check out Sprint's ETF. Not so cheap.

Gbcue
Premium
join:2001-09-30
Santa Rosa, CA
kudos:8
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse

Re: Churn rates show otherwise

said by notsoCheap :

Check out Sprint's ETF. Not so cheap.

So? We're talking about why the churn rate for AT&T is low. Because of the iPhone and high ETFs.
--
My Blog 2.2

jmn1207
Premium
join:2000-07-19
Ashburn, VA
kudos:1
I thought all the hippies grew up to be cool parents with iPhones?

No, there isn't some conspiracy against AT&T, they really do generally have poor service overall. I have not looked too closely at this year's financial reports, but this same issue was brought up last year, and it was determined that 70% of the customers were on family plans with multiple devices while 40% were locked into a corporate contract. Add to that, the iPhone really doesn't work that well with Sprint or Verizon's CDMA technology, and few customers are moving.

AT&T has the luxury of letting their customer service dwindle precisely because they are structured to shrug off any potential mass migration. There are far too many isolated reports that all come out with similar results to suggest that AT&T is getting a bad rap.

membername

@yscriticalcare.com

Re: Churn rates show otherwise


Disagree with your "overall," comment. They may suck locally for some people but overall their network is extemely large and robust. They have had specific capacity challenges in some metro areas but they also have the higheset concentration of smartphones of any US wireless carrier.

I believe the iPhone exposed them to initital criticism and they never recovered the premium image. I would go as far as stating that many people who rag on AT&T online no longer use them but they still feel their 2008 opinions are still valid.

jmn1207
Premium
join:2000-07-19
Ashburn, VA
kudos:1

Re: Churn rates show otherwise

When compared to the competition, it would seem that AT&T may work for some people locally, but overall their network is not as satisfying.
Expand your moderator at work
NuShrike

join:2010-09-01

Re: Churn rates show otherwise

The CR report is from 2011, as in this year, now.

Since AT&T's culture hasn't changed nor their deployment strategy, those "opinions" are very well justified.
NuShrike

join:2010-09-01
Churn is low because of satisfaction with the iPhone and contract lock-in, NOT because of AT&T itself.

There's a lot of iSheep out there who will gladly, and unquestioningly, pay large sums of contract-lock-in every month just so they can get their iPhones. It's really perplexing but you're right, the "market has spoken".

nonamesleft

join:2011-11-07
Manitowoc, WI

Att as a whole stinks.

Not just wireless.
QLR

join:2009-06-23
Tallahassee, FL
Reviews:
·Comcast

I guess perception isn't reality

In my area, most folks who use AT&T are mostly happy with them. Some are iPhone users probably w/ unlimited data. I alse know some who stay one county over and they are happy as well... they use plain phones. They have been with the death star since US Cellular left (~7 years ago).

On the other hand, in Atlanta, I have seen so many AT&T bashers... I was amazed by all the bashing. Folks I know tended to go to Verizon or Sprint.

All in all, with churn rates ~1%, there aren't that many angry folks out there. ETF's and grandfathered data has something to do with that though.

ilikeme
I live in a van down by the river.
Premium
join:2002-08-27
Sugar Land, TX
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Vonage

Re: I guess perception isn't reality

said by QLR:

On the other hand, in Atlanta, I have seen so many AT&T bashers... I was amazed by all the bashing. Folks I know tended to go to Verizon or Sprint.

I would have thought Atlanta would be one of their best areas since thats where At&t Mobility HQ is lol.
QLR

join:2009-06-23
Tallahassee, FL

Re: I guess perception isn't reality

Yep. It's beyond hilarious. When I had them eons ago in Atlanta , it was OK to me.
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

"We're DSL Reports and we hate AT&T"

I've had a great experience. They have by far the best retail presence, the corporate store retail people can fix about anything right there, they have the fastest iPhone, and they have the best network in eastern CT. The only bad experience I had is that they wouldn't give me a free microcell, even though our coverage is sh*t.
Arty50
Premium
join:2003-10-04

Try using an iPhone in the Bay Area

I'm sorry, but their network is crap. I've had my iPhone for 2 1/2 years and while I love it, the network it's on is garbage. Tons of random drops, outages, etc. It basically becomes a shiny rock when you get in parts of SF, which is inexcusable for a major network in a city of that size. It's only slightly better elsewhere. And their network is only faster when it's not crawling because they're cheap bastards who are loathe to make capital investments.

EGeezer
zichrona livracha
Premium
join:2002-08-04
Midwest
kudos:8
Reviews:
·Callcentric

ATT technical and customer support

If ATT's wireless support is anything like the ISP support I regularly experienced, I wouldn't touch it.

In my business serving customers, I had to deal with ATT support. I'd spend 30-40 minutes on hold waiting for someone, only to be cold transferred to another long hold or having the transfer disconnected.

If I were fortunate enough to get beyond the script reader to a real tech, I'd be promised a call back or site visit. the majority of the time, I would not get the call back, and several times the on site guys did not show up on the scheduled day, and I wasted yet more time waiting for ATT's version of Godot.

Since I was charging by the hour, I had to eat many hours of billable time because it would cause a customer sat issue for me if I billed all the time I wasted holding for some script reading tech in an overseas call center.

ATT was too expensive for me in terms of wasted time, lost revenue and unhappy customers.
--
Follow your dreams, except the one where you're naked in church.

Jodokast96
Stupid people really piss me off.
Premium
join:2005-11-23
Erial, NJ
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Verizon Online DSL

Re: ATT technical and customer support

Oddly enough, as much as I dislike AT&T for so many other reasons, I can't complain about the service I've received. Only needed to call a small handful of times. Once to check about an outage (the only one since coming to them in the Cingular merger), once to get some third party slammer charges removed, and once to discuss and adjust the plan. Can't recall anything else.