Mobile Service Popularity Contest

Every mobile phone user has a different experience since variables such as equipment, location, and service impact every single call. However, there are some wireless carriers that satisfy customers and perform better than others in the United States, and Yankee Group has analyzed the ratings of the big players in the market.

Using a scale from 1 to 5, where 1 indicates the lowest level of satisfaction and 5 indicates the highest, the carrier average was 4.23 with 48 percent (compared with 42 percent in 2000) of respondents describing themselves as “very satisfied” with their service.

Yankee Group also rated carriers on their performance using these indicators: in-building coverage, outdoor coverage, voice/sound quality, value for the money, feature offerings, and customer service. Using a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 denotes “poor” and 5 indicates “excellent,” the carrier average for total performance was 3.88.

AT&T Wireless ranked at the top with a 4.33 and more than half (51 percent) of those surveyed described themselves as “very satisfied.” While AT&T scored above average in most categories, it fell just below average in coverage and voice/sound quality. Overall performance score was 3.90.

At the lowest end of the satisfaction spectrum was ALLTEL with a 4.07 score and only 37 percent describing themselves as “very satisfied.” ALLTEL also showed the lowest performance score with 3.76.

Verizon Wireless was in the second position with a score of 4.30 and 49 percent of very satisfied respondents. Verizon also scored consistently well – fifth in overall performance, and highest in “in-building coverage.” Verizon fell below average most noticeably in feature offerings. Total performance score = 3.88.

Cingular landed right below Verizon with 4.28 but ranked higher in satisfying customers at 51 percent. Cingular’s overall performance scored 3.83.

Sprint PCS was not far behind with a score of 4.27 and 48 percent of very satisfied customers. Yankee Group notes that Sprint PCS lost some ground from the 2000 survey results, where it ranked as the clear winner. In 2002, Sprint PCS ranked above average for most performance metrics and wound up with an overall performance score of 3.91.

US Cellular (4.25 and 55 percent very satisfied customers) was second in performance and fifth in customer satisfaction. US Cellular achieved 3.95 as its score of total performance.

Even though it was lower on the list at 4.25, Nextel scored pretty well overall. More than half (55 percent) of respondents were very satisfied and the company was the best performer with 3.97. Nextel came out on top in a number of performance metrics scoring highest in outdoor coverage, voice quality, and features.

VoiceStream (now T-Mobile) scored 4.16 and 44 percent of very satisfied respondents, with a total performance score of 3.80.

Gartner, Inc. recently conducted a similar survey asking respondents to rate wireless network providers’ network quality as either poor, below average, average, good or excellent. The results showing providers receiving good or excellent satisfaction levels are: AT&T Wireless: 57.1 percent; Cingular: 51.6 percent; Verizon: 51.2 percent; Sprint PCS: 50.1 percent; VoiceStream: 42.9 percent; Nextel: 40 percent; and Others: 25 percent.

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