Consumer reports rates AT&T worst carrier, iPhone tied for #1 as most popular phone


“Consumer Reports ranks AT&T as worst U.S. carrier”

AT&T’s consumer survey ratings plunge as iPhone 4 ties trio of Samsung Android smartphones for first place

Computerworld - Consumer Reports today named AT&T as the worst U.S. mobile service provider, but said its reader survey puts Apple’s iPhone, which only uses AT&T, in a tie for first place with a trio of Samsung smartphones running Android.

The magazine’s annual survey of over 58,000 subscribers ranked AT&T in last place – as it was this time last year – but showed that its overall score dropped significantly, widening the margin between it and the next-best carrier.

“AT&T was the only carrier with scores that dropped significantly in our satisfaction survey,” said Consumer Reports in its ratings report. “AT&T is now positioned in last place overall and in almost every market we rate.”

Consumer Reports’ score of 60 out of a possible 100 for AT&T was six points lower than the provider’s 2009 number, while the difference between AT&T and the top-ranked U.S. Cellular was 22 points, more than twice the 9-point gap between AT&T and Verizon last year.

According to the publication, AT&T placed last in all 23 metro markets it surveyed. The carrier did poorest in San Francisco, where its score of 51 trailed Sprint by 23 points.

AT&T scored 58 or lower in several other cities, including Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and New York.

Verizon and T-Mobile each dropped a point, to 74 and 69, respectively, in this year’s survey, while Sprint climbed six points to 73. U.S. Cellular, which serves 26 states, most of them in the Midwest, took honors with 82.

But while AT&T was in Consumer Reports’ doghouse, Apple’s iPhone tied for first place in the smartphone category with three Samsung models, all of which use Google’s Android mobile operating system.

The iPhone 4’s score of 76 was the same as the numbers for Samsung’s Captivate, Epic 4G and Vibrant, said Consumer Reports.

Apple’s $99 iPhone 3GS rated 74 out of 100.

Several other Android-powered smartphones, including Motorola’s Droid 2 and Droid X, and HTC’s Droid Incredible, scored 75.

Consumer Reports did not list the iPhone 4 among its recommended smartphones, a practice it began last summer after buyers complained that holding the new model certain ways dropped calls or lowered their signal strength.

Although Apple offered free cases to iPhone 4 owners as its solution to what CEO Steve Jobs dubbed “Antennagate,” Consumer Reports continued to withhold its recommendation after Apple discontinued the automatic distribution of cases in September, saying the move was “not acceptable” because it put the burden on consumers.

AT&T’s scores in eight of the nine individual ratings used to compile its total were the lowest among all carriers, with both voice and data service, as well as all aspects of customer service, at the bottom.

“We take this seriously and we continually look for new ways to improve the customer experience,” an AT&T spokeswoman said in reply to a request for comment on the carrier’s poor showing in Consumer Reports’ survey.

If analyst predictions are accurate, U.S. consumers will get a chance to use the iPhone on another carrier, most likely Verizon, in early 2011.

I know I’m shocked. /sarcasm

It’s strange that the best rated phone in the survey is exclusive to the worst rated carrier. How can one go with the other?

The iPhone has tons of bells and whistles, but AT&T has shitty coverage. Good hardware, good software, bad network.

Or so is the thinking. I guess we’ll see for sure when Verizon gets the iPhone next year.

Me, I’ll stick with my Epic. ;-)

Kool-aid drinking batshit crazy Apple apologists.

If you just ignore the phone and net capabilities of the iPhone, you’ll realize it’s a solid device and there aren’t really any issues with it that are worth getting all worked up over.

Actually, I think he was wondering, “why has Apple tied the iPhone exclusively to the worst cellphone service provider in the country?”

Or if he isn’t, that’s what I’m wondering. :-) Not like every other cellular service wouldn’t eagerly cut a deal with Apple to get the iPhone on their networks tomorrow (wouldn’t they?).

Most likely a gigantic pile of money involved somewhere.

It’s all YMMV as far as I’m concerned. I’ve had nothing but good from AT&T and my iPhone and that’s why i’ll probably upgrade to a 4 on their service.

Travelling from Portland to San Francisco is like having someone reach into my pocket and switch my phone with different device.

It’s lovely up here, and a nightmare in the Bay Area.

My thinking is that if your phone doesn’t work very well because of the network, can you really be happy with the phone, even if the problems aren’t due to the hardware? If my phone was always having issues, I’d be less likely to rate it highly as a device, even if I suspected the fault was with my carrier.

Yeah, southeast PA seems to get really good service. I almost never have a call dropped and I actually get better service throughout the building I work in than people on other carriers. When I’m in NYC and LA the data service is usually OK but the phone service is not so great. I can definitely see why people hate AT&T so much but for me it’s not a big deal.

Also, the iPhone rocks. Brian Rubin is a poopy head.

You’re a doody brain!

It helps to check the regional ratings (which I think CR lists in their article), not just the national ones. Also check if your local newspapers (or more likely their websites) list ratings for cellphone providers. I know the Washington Post occasionally ranks the quality of cellphone service by region & provider; IIRC Verizon is top dog here too.

I’m in the North Bay (Santa Rosa, we totally get to call ourselves part of the Bay, shut up), and the service is ok.

That means my wife has only cursed out her iPhone 4 twice since in the 6+ months she’s had it.

This is in contrast to the city, where you here random people on street corners complaining about AT&T, like the weather.

Fuck this survey. I have AT&T and I don’t have any problems with them. Guess what? I don’t have an iPhone. Let’s see a correlation of call/signal problems with the device people use and then we’ll talk.

All iphones have had serious design flaws with their antennae. The most recent one was merely the most acute and obvious to users. It’ll be interesting to see what apple says in the coming months, when the iphone moves to carriers like verizon, and it’s users continue to see substandard connectivity.

It’s not just the antenna design, it’s the complete drain on the system caused by a critical mass of iPhone users. I wish to hell the iPhone went to another carrier years ago so I could stop hearing people bitch about AT&T. I’ve been on AT&T since it was Cingular with my Nokia candybars and guess what - Never had reception problems. Fancy that.

Of course, I’m not in San Fran or New York, those might be a whole other ball of wax. But the people bitching in my city can STFU.

AT&T destroyed the reasonably comfortable relationship I’d had with Cingular prior to their takeover. Service got progressively shittier over time, and then eventually they graduated to a new level by deciding that when I unfroze my account post-deployment the second time. They shifted me to a per-minute plan without letting me know. It took me like 7 steps up their chain of command and a record-setting 20+ dropped calls along the way to get them to say they would not pursue it. I switched to Verizon the next day, and have not had a problem with it. Obviously I never had an iphone, but both the Samsung and Nokia models I had were significantly outperformed by the bottom of the barrel free LG that I replaced them with, and the key variable was the carrier IMO.

Right now, my wife has a work Blackberry on AT&T as her office favors the international options that it offers. It is a goddamned catastrophe in terms of reception and dropped calls. There has never been an instance stateside where you could put the Blackberry next to her Verizon Droid and have it get anything approaching the same quality of service.

To my limited understanding of the issue, AT&T explicitly made underinvesting in infrastructure the means by which it would increase profitability by focusing on bells and whistles like iphone exclusivity. It works, obviously, but not to the benefit of customers.

Verizon may have terrible customer service, but I’ve never needed it so I wouldn’t know. But it seems to me that you’d have to be a pretty aggressively entrenched contrarian to go against the conventional wisdom on this one. Perhaps you are fortunate enough to live in an area where their grid isn’t a maxed out series of tin cans with string, but you are exceptional in that regard.

Why would you blame the phone itself and the users over the company that sold them and everyone else affected by it a bill of goods? If you can’t sustain the smartphones you’re selling, it’s not the customer’s fault for being a “burden” on the system.