Verizon ranked best provider by Consumer Reports; Apple dominates online, walk-in stores
By Jay Keller
Verizon earned the top rank in Consumer Reports’ annual ranking of the four major U.S. cell phone carriers released on Thursday. While AT&T continued to rank last in overall service for the second consecutive year, the company’s 4G service garnered the least complaints from customers.
Consumer Reports ranks annually the ratings for U.S. cell phone carries by compiling an overall mean score on a scale of “Very Poor to Excellent.” The ratings use eight criteria to reach the mean score: value for money, satisfaction with data service, ease and speed of reaching support staff through the phone system, and support staff knowledge.
In a survey of 63,253 ConsumerReports.org subscribers with cell-phone service, Verizon earned top marks of the “Big Four” cell phone companies. Consumers rated Verizon the best for voice, data and support, both staff knowledge and resolved issues.
Sprint and T-Mobile ranked second and third in the annual ratings but fell short in all eight categories when compared to Verizon. AT&T finished last in overall ratings but earned the top rating of the four companies for its 4G service as consumers reported fewer problems with the service. Scores for 4G are based on the occurrence of these problems: service unavailable, interrupted or overall slowness.
The Samsung Galaxy S III remains the top-rated smartphone by consumers and is available through all “Big Four” carriers with the Apple iPhone 5 a very close second in terms of overall satisfaction. The LG Optimus G earned the top marks for AT&T Sprint customers while Verizon customers strongly prefer the Motorola Droid Razr Maxx HD and T-Mobile rate highly the Samsung Galaxy S III.
Apple remains dominant in overall cell phone store ratings where satisfaction scores were formulated by measuring service, checkout, price paid, selection, website quality and shipping. For online stores, Apple.com, VerizonWireless.com and att.com comprised the top three. The Apple Store, Costco and U.S Cellular boasted the best ratings for walk-in stores. Apple still dominated all store ratings, both walk-in and online, based perfect scores for service, checkout, website quality and shipping.
Consumer Reports releases each year its ratings along with a buying guide designed to help the consumer pick the perfect phone and plan that’s best for them. The company’s new shopping guide helps consumers if they’re buying for a crowd, want the best, want a smartphone but don’t need the extras, just need the basics and can’t wait for that must-have phone.