New JD Power Network Quality Study Shows More Work Ahead For T-Mobile

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The last of the second volume of JD Power reports for 2013 has just arrived and needless to say, it’s a mixed message for T-Mobile. The Wireless Network Quality semi-annual Performance Study “evaluates wireless customers’ most recent usage activities in three areas that impact network performance: calling, messaging and data. Overall network performance is based on 10 problem areas that impact the customer experience: dropped calls; calls not connected; audio issues; failed/late voicemails; lost calls; text transmission failures; late text message notifications; Web connection errors; slow downloads; and email connection errors. Network performance issues are measured as problems per 100 (PP100) network connections, with a lower score reflecting fewer problems and better network performance. Carrier performance is examined in six geographic regions: Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, North Central, Southwest and West.”

That’s quite a mouthful, but JD Power awards are something T-Mobile once took a lot of pride in and I’m hopeful they are on the right track to get that streak going once again. For the time being however, the most recent study shows T-Mobile still has some work to do to capture more awards as they rank third or fourth in all the six regions JD Power examines.

For the most part, Verizon unsurprisingly ran the table with only US Cellular knocking them off their pedestal in the North Central region. US Cellular took the top spot in that region for the 16th consecutive study, something we’d like to see T-Mobile do once again. The current state of JD Power over the course of 2013 continues to show that T-Mobile has room for improvement in just about every area, including network performance, customer service and wireless purchase experience.

I have no doubt T-Mobile CEO John Legere is looking at these studies and already snapping his lieutenants into action. Hopefully this time next year we’ll see a much improved ranking for our favorite carrier.

The 2013 U.S. Wireless Network Quality Performance Study–Volume 2 is based on responses from 26,491 wireless customers. The study was fielded between January and June 2013.

JD Power Awards

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  • UMA_Fan

    I wonder how much low band spectrum has to do with this. How good can T-Mobile make it’s network with the spectrum they have? Indoor signal penetration is their single biggest problem. How much of it is just throwing enough cash towards it?

    • gentleman559

      I NEVER have problem with signal indoors. Although my mom had Verizon and couldn’t make a call in her house and the same for my neighbor across the street. She had to jam them up for a indoor router. I live in Las Vegas and get great signal in every casino I have ever been.

      • 21stNow

        I thought that it was known that Las Vegas casinos floors have great cell coverage. The casino owners don’t want people to get up from the slot machines to take calls or send text messages.

        A better test would be comparing a house to a house.

        • gentleman559

          Well I have done that too. My mom has Verizon and got 1 bar and 3G at best but dropped calls constantly. Switched her over to T-Mo on the family plan and all of a sudden she has 3 bars and 4G. Not saying this is the case everywhere but EVERY carrier has weak spots. But considering this whole city is refarmed I have noticed the signal is A LOT stronger than it used to be.

      • Trevnerdio

        Yeah, about what 2stNow said…casinos should have multiple built in signal repeaters for every company under the sun. Not to mention cell equipment is probably sitting right on top of every one of those buildings.

    • kalel33

      I’d say that’s not their single biggest problem. That’d be coverage outside of major metropolitans.

  • crap

    JD Power is full of crap. They hand out awards to the companies that are willing to pay them the most. The do it in a smart way of course: In order for a company to mention they won an award, they charge them thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. Is T-Mobile or Sprint going to pay that? Nope… so they rank them down and ensure that their money keeps flowing.

    • crap?

      Would you still be saying this if T-Mobile was on top?

      • GinaDee

        No he wouldn’t.

        T-Mobile employees and customers live in delusion and are fed lies about nationwide 4G and dual carrier HSPA+ that only works in tiny patches or blips on any coverage maps.

        With T-Mobile you can go from LTE to GPRS to no service just by walking around your room. So unreliable.

        • S. Ali

          T-mobile is my only internet. I do 60gb/month and get 20mbit in my house. Sour grapes buddy.

        • Dakota

          You realize you are only 1 person. If that was the average experience, T-Mobile wouldn’t be the #4 carrier. You think people wouldn’t switch to Tmobile if it had Verizon qualityat the vvalue price? Making apologies doesn’t help them improve. The truth hurts sometimes

        • Spanky

          Agreed 100%. I was with T-Mobile for over 7 years before leaving them due to horrible data speeds in my area – 0.5 Mbps is just not acceptable in a major city. I’d love to be on T-Mobile and pay less, but I don’t mind paying more for quality service.

        • S. Ali

          That is my point. To take a survey, and then apply its results to EVERY customer nationwide is just plain stupid. That is why this survey makes no sense. For ME, T-mobile has the BEST network quality. This survey doesn’t say that. J.D Power gets paid to do these surveys. Why the hell do I care if Verizon has the best network, if the places I USE my cell phone is best covered by T-mobile??

        • kalel33

          You wouldn’t care, because you don’t use your phone outside of a small area, but this is for regions, because not everyone is a hobbit and stays in the Shire. Some people venture out on a daily or weekly basis and understand why T-mobile is in last.

          I pay the least, out of the 4 main carriers, and I get what I pay for, poor to great service in the city and poor service outside of the cities. If my priorities were different and cared more about quality of a network and less about money then I’d be a Verizon customer in a heartbeat. I just don’t care about paying for the best when it comes to wireless carriers. I’m the target audience for T-mobile and so are most people who are their customers.

        • Tina

          Until a day comes and you have to leave your bubble of great service and bam, your on edge or nothing. A lot of people travel and while your phone works great where you live, taking a road trip and missing a bunch of calls suddenly sours that good deal.

        • vrm

          why would you miss calls if you are on edge or GPRS ? You actually don’t even need a data connection to receive/make calls in a GSM phone. And call roaming is free across ALL GSM phones.

        • samsavoy

          So do you pay for tethering or how do you use that much on your phone alone?

        • AndroidProfit

          Cheapskates who don’t want to pay for home internet.

        • S. Ali

          No, just not dumb enough to pay for internet twice.

        • samsavoy

          You still didn’t answer the question. Do you pay for 60GB of tethering, use it all on your phone, or violate the T-Mobile Terms of Service and tether your unlimited connection?

        • Trevnerdio

          I don’t pay for tethering. I get the 500MB free and after that, I can connect only mobile devices to it…or, just get a user agent switcher for Chrome. Screw their ToS when tethering used to be free and they just started following the crowd and charging for it.

        • Saul Viayra

          Don’t be jealous root your phone get a custom rom and theater unlimited.Wait you can’t lol

        • Alex Zapata

          Only 60? I’m averaging between 30 and 100/month. No tethering. Let the pissing contest begin!

        • samsavoy

          I went from EDGE to no data at all, just bars, the other day. Full T-Mobile signal, no data connection.

        • Trevnerdio

          That’s happened to me before…not far outside of Dothan, AL.

        • JBrowne1012

          When was the last time you have had t-mobile?

      • S. Ali

        Fact is, “network quality” is a measure that makes no sense. The “best” network is the one that provides the best coverage where YOU use your phone the most. Just because Verizon offers coverage in towns no one would ever visit doesn’t mean the quality of their network is the best. I can pull down 60gb a month on T-mobile(where I live), let see you do that on Verizon or ATT. That is what makes these surveys absolutely useless. It doesn’t say anything about where I live.

        • AndroidProfit

          WOW… JUST WOW!!!

        • Asael Delgado

          When reading this outloud, my dog’s head to the side and lifted his paw to cover his face.

        • S. Ali

          Sorry for your reading disability.

        • Tina

          The difference with t-mobile vs Verizon is walk two feet and your bars drop from 4 down to two. Verizon is at least consistent in more places including indoors. I will take 10 mb down consistently vs 34 at the mall and down to 3 a mile away.

        • Brad C

          Same could be said for Verizon here in Phoenix. I had Verizon for years until i moved here, until i was able to experience consistent dropped calls, muffled calls, and LTE that went anywhere from 500kbps to 75Mbps, but usually around 4Mbps.

          T-Mobile never drops calls here, my LTE is consistent, and i have truly unlimited. Cant beat that.

          I use to drink VZW kool-aid when I had them, but even on cross country roadtrips T-Mobile always works just fine, i may have EDGE in the middle of nowhere but i do not care. GPS and Pandora still work just fine, and i’m paying 1/3 of what i was paying to Verizon.

          I can afford to keep a prepaid “glovebox” phone that costs $10 every four months to keep active, and put the rest of my savings toward more important things.

    • JBrowne1012

      T-mobile used to be on top

      • kalel33

        They were on top for customer service but for network they’ve always been last.

  • Willie D

    You forgot the West region!!

    • sidekicker89

      West Region is the first one at the top of the page.

  • sushimane

    Their getting there…

  • Ian Harrington

    Yea I am confused, going down the list Sprint only beats T-Mobile on one graph, But then Sprint Wins over T-Mobile over all?

    • Asael Delgado

      I divided by regions.

    • Guest

      Yeah…T-Mobile comes out to average 13.4 and Sprint gets 14.4 average. That would mean that T-Mobile is actually on par with AT&T and Sprint is last. Stupid JD Power…

      • Trevnerdio

        Oops, this was me. I forgot to add one graph. But still, adding one graph where Sprint and T-Mobile are equal still puts T-Mobile in 2nd with AT&T, not last with Sprint!

  • Jessicad

    Well I still have my at&t galaxy s4 active and My T-Mobile Xperia z .over here in los Angeles T-Mobile works much much better than att. Att drops so many calls even with full bars its sad I mean its 2013 I can not tell u how many times I gotten call failed with full bars standing outside no its not my phone or sim I switched it twice same problems. PEOPLE SAY att supposedly works much better since it uses 850 mhz I guess in LA they don’t? I cannot tell u how many times I had no service in LA fitness,trader joes,sears,walmart,kmart,Nordstrom ,macys on att all while T-Mobile at least gets 2 bars in all those places and at least works to call while att totally craps out and I mean it CRAPS out..

  • sidekicker89

    Speaking of the network it seems like the LTE sightings have slowed down. After checking Sensorly I’ve seen sightings in central and Western Michigan as well as new sightings in St. Louis.

    • Trevnerdio

      LTE is starting to pop up here in Panama City, FL.

      • sidekicker89

        I’ve seen that too! :) Also Fort Wayne, Indiana!

        • Trevnerdio

          Two very different places…did you vacation here? Lol

        • sidekicker89

          No, just checking sensorly…

        • Trevnerdio

          Oh… :D

  • PurpleRain

    Hey, I think the blue bars are misleading. The way I see AT&T is getting a bad rap because a blue bar is in last place. The graphs should have magenta representing tMobile, blue for AT&T, red for Verizon, and yellow with pink polka dots for Sprint….

    • ccnet005

      No one can use magenta, if you do you’ll be sued.
      Never mind the spotty coverage, just keep from using magenta.
      I wonder when Crayola will be served.

  • Aurizen

    well I dont have a major problem with T-Mobile, the only problem I have at the moment is their building penetration. They need a lot more spectrum.

  • KingCobra

    Looks like they’re better than Sprint for the most part but yeah as is already common knowledge AT&T and Verizon have the strongest overall networks. Not much T-Mobile can do about it right now with the spectrum they have.

  • Glenn Gore

    Considering T-Mobile has nothing but roaming on other companies’ infrastructure between MInneapolis and Spokane, 1200 or so miles, it’s not too surprising that they would be dead last in that region.

    • Singleweird

      that’s not where the population is. naturally they will be the last markets fitted with tmo coverage

      • Glenn Gore

        But you can’t claim “nationwide coverage” with a 1378-mile gap between your native cell sites either. That was the point.

  • Garo.j

    I am a T-Mobile consumer and I don’t have any of these issues.

  • BigMixxx

    Is it me, or did t mobile, with less coverage, best sprint? Tells me that they are REALLY trying and with some good targeted marketing they could actually be on the heals of ATT.

    1 at a time T, 1 at a time.

  • sanmam

    They need to get rid of the Edge network areas and their ratings will soar. This is the biggest issue in some spots for Tmobile. Fast in NYC, Chicago ,and LA doesn’t cut it for the rest of the country.