Consumer Reports Survey Lists AT&T As Least Satisfying Wireless Company, T-Mobile Brings Up The Middle

Looking for a reason to continue hoping the AT&T deal doesn’t go through with T-Mobile? Try a Consumer Reports survey that places AT&T dead last in both postpaid and prepaid categories for customer satisfaction. While Consumer Report surveys aren’t always weighed with the utmost of accuracy, the result of the 22 metropolitan areas breakdown didn’t result in any cities giving AT&T the top position for wireless satisfaction.

T-Mobile on the other hand took the top spot in Austin, Texas; Boston, Massachusetts and Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota. Verizon was the clear winner in this survey taking the top spot in 12 out of the 22 cities leaving Sprint and U.S. Cellular to duke it out for the other 7 cities. T-Mobile might have taken the third place spot on the postpaid chart but still managed to trounce AT&T along with Sprint, Verizon and a host of regional providers.

While we don’t have a copy of the full report on hand, AllThingsD reports that the magazine gave special mention to T-Mobile’s Value Plan offerings which are often difficult to completely grasp, but over time result in savings for T-Mobile customers.

AT&T offered up AllThingsD expressing a concern over the survey and using it as a learning opportunity while reiterating the company’s continued efforts to make their service better. AT&T of course added in an extra line to AllThingsD about how customers would benefit if they were allowed to buy T-Mobile yada yada.

“While we’ll of course evaluate and learn from the Consumer Reports survey, we made significant progress in our network in 2011 including a 25 percent improvement 3G dropped call performance, 48,000 network improvements (more capacity, new cell sites, faster data speeds, and better connections), and many billions of dollars in capital investment to continue to improve our network,” the company said in a statement to AllThingsD.

Consumer Reports, AllThingsD


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  • I have AT&T & happen to love it. I also love T-Mobile, it just sucks that where *I* live in West Los Angeles, they have terrible coverage. And where I work. In order for their Faux G to work WELL, youve GOT to be hooked onto a a HSPA+ tower & they are rare & far between, sadly. However, when near one, WOW are they fast!

    • Greaterway

      Wow, I have Tmobile and Verizon. One for work and one for personal use. Tmobile  in Indiana is great in the metro area’s To be honest, the reception is better on Magenta and the speeds on the 42mbps network actually rival LTE with number’s between 8-15 mbps. Trust me, that’s pretty good. None the less, I work on all the towers, in the US and the EU. From what I can see on paper and the jobs that my company are having to do, in the US; Tmobile is the company that seems to be building out and investing in their network the most at the time.
      Now let me say this, While everyone else runs their mouth, AT&T is going to have the fastest and most advanced network in the US period. Actually, Tmobile could best AT&T if they were to layer LTE on their 42 network and continue to put hspa+ in rural area’s.

      • Guesty

        theoretically its possible to keep upgrading its hspa+ much beyond 42 to match lte.  

    • Anonymous

      I live in the Marina (west LA) and I get 6 – 9 down. While its a far cry from the 42.2 it’s still faster than Sprint and ATT. I get bad signals near the airport and when I go downtown, but most of the rest of LA I can at least get enough connection to view internet content without getting agitated by it… Then again I haven’t tried East LA, not sure what it would be like there… but i’ll never move east of the 405 anyways.

  • BP

    It is weird that a lot of people complain about AT&T but their quarterly results are always solid and T-Mobile is the opposite..

    • Tbyrne

      How long have you been alive? It’s not surprising AT&T quarterlies are solid. The Death Star has been pillaging for quite some time now. People are complaining mostly on Randall’s gouging of the American public and their “always dead last” piss poor customer service!

      • BP

        Reading is fundamental and this makes you an idiot.

        • Tbyrne

          Yeah I guess you’re right. It is weird that people complain about a company that consistently comes in dead last in surveys, but hey, if it’s only how much $$$ that company can rake in that matters then I guess you’re right. I’m such an idiot.

        • Guest911

          The market responds to financials. ATT is not “gouging”anyone – that is your childish response. @BP was making an observation, you chose to make an a$$ of yourself.

        • Tbyrne

          Well then enjoy paying more than I do for cellular service. For you to state “AT&T is not gouging anyone” is foolish on your part. If you bothered to read the article above, you’d notice that AT&T placed dead last in customer satisfaction. But I guess that was just childish of me of making that observation.

        • Anonymous

          What I get for my dollar at T-Mobile, I could probably only get 85-90 cents worth of services from AT&T just because they want to charge more.  To top it off, they don’t have superior reception to justify the higher costs.  I know because I have an AT&T work phone…

        • ogopogo

          You didn’t clear up anything – which, in essence makes you the a$$. 

          @BP commented on AT&T’s financials. @Tbyrne explained why they were solid. 

  • Well this is shocking! AT&T dead last in customer satisfaction?? Way to go AT&T! Another way to decrease your chances of this merger! Thank you so much! This is another win for people opposing the deal :)

    • ogopogo

      This is what all of the supporters of the deal don’t understand. They ALL claimed that the deal was the best thing for TMO. None of them had the experience of being an AT&T subscriber. Those that have been with AT&T know better. 

      They are overpriced and provide little to no customer service.

      • Lcc1_

        amen to this

  • Anonymous

    No surprises here.  But hey, look on the bright side.  At least AT&T is consistently winning one award back-to-back.

    • Tbyrne


  • my roomate’s step-aunt makes $81/hr on the computer.  last month her paycheck was $8330 just working on the computer for a few hours, she is just one example of many people  learned Kelly Richard’s ways ….  MakeCash1.???

  • Jesse Gomes

    Where would AT&T be without the iPhone? Begging T-Mobile to buy them.

    • Frank

      If ifs and buts were candy and nuts…

      • Anonymous

        but he didn’t use “if” or “but” lol

      • Jesse Gomes

        IF, you read it, BUT you did not, so the NUTS are on your nose.

        You must be the AT&T iPhone owner. I bet if you could bring your phone over to Tmo you’d jump ship huh? Oh that’s right it’s not GSM. Oops. Sorry you spent all your money on that single app-at-a-a-time phone. Enjoy your candy!

    • Anonymous

      they’d probably have a lot more leeway with spectrum. they probably wouldn’t feature last in consecutive consumer reports. they’d probably be much bigger friends with google, and consequently be marginalizing iPhones with an androids….where would the iPhone be without AT&T sacrificing it’s main clientelle for the good of a few spectrum hoggers? With Verizon? Why do you think Apple didn’t choose the larger company? Crappy limited CDMA technology, less leverage, etc. If anything beg Carlos Slim and Tracfone to buy them.

  • Love the iphone or not, if it wasn’t for that phone AT&T would be in a whole different position. Steve Jobs saved AT&T.

    • Anonymous

      It was wise of att to take a chance on the iphone when vzw passed. Not only that but to have an uncanny 4yr exclusive deal with the phone! Its amazing what a phone and brand recognition can do for business. On the otherhand its amazing how value and good customer service has yielded opposite results for tmo.

      • Greaterway

        First off, It is a lie, Apple went to Big Red first. The former CEO stated that. At&t was # 1 in the first place and at this point; continue to rake in millions of customers every year. Having said that, Apple didn’t do as much for them as you seem to think. Like they didn’t do for Verizon. Remember most were going to jump ship? Yeah right,

    • Guestme

      Totally agreed with you there.  Steve Jobs and the iPhone saved ATT.  With the iPhone, ATT would be a sinking ship a long time ago.

      • Guestme

        I mean “WITHOUT the iPhone, ATT would be a sinking ship.”

        By the way, how do you edit your post, after you accidentally press the post button?

        • You can edit your post after you sign up for a Disqus account. is the service that TMoNews and a lot of other sites (such as my own) use. Once you sign up for an account and sign in to post, you will see an “Edit” option on the bottom of your posts after clicking “Submit”.

    • Guest

      No question. Remember seeing too many articles from years ago, now long forgotten, that mentioned AT&T would have almost no way of staying relevant as a national cell carrier if they didn’t land the iPhone, which was then not a name on everyone’s lips. The rest is history.

    • 21stNow

      Mathematically, I don’t get your comment.  AT&T has around 95 million customers.  Around 18 million (pre iPhone 4S) use the iPhone.  Even if all of those customers had left AT&T and gone to Sprint, AT&T would still have 78 million, which still would give them the #2 position.  Sprint would only have 71 million customers and still be #3, although a much stronger #3. 

      How did Steve Jobs save AT&T?

    • Jesse Gomes

      You got that right! Just thought of something… How about this.

      What if APPLE brought AT&T


  • sidekicker89

    who is AllThingsD? does he work for T-Mobile USA?

    • sidekicker89

      nevermind, just answered my own question ha

  • sidekicker89

    is anyone from Florida here? T-Mobile’s coverage map shows they have almost the whole state covered in 3G/4G HSPA+ .. have you noticed improvements?

    • Anonymous

      I’m in Florida, I got the 42mbps HSPA+ upgrade in June.

  • T-Mobile will just be fine w/o AT&T. T-Mobile does not need to sell but possibly to pick up another carrier like failing Sprint.

    • Frank

      Assuming the FCC and DOJ would allow such a deal, I don’t think DT has the money to buy Sprint even if they wanted to stay in the US market.

      • Greaterway

        I hate to say, you thought wrong. DT is 3 times larger than AT&T. Not only that, they have 4 times the money AT&T has and it’s in Euro’s. Having said that, they really don’t like the U.S. market, and for good reasons. They have all of Europe and then some.

  • ItsMichaelNotMike

    Consumers Union provides the most accurate survey of all the polls and surveys, IMO.

    For one, CR obtains its results from questionnaires sent to its members (subscribers). CR surveys obtain a lot more information than what other surveys and polls publish. And CR is far better than JD Powers surveys that are meaningless since the results are bought and paid for by the businesses advertising being top-rated by JD Powers (e.g., T-Mobile has to pay JD Powers a substantial fee to advertise JD Powers awards). In contrast, to prevent the appearance that its results are for sale, CR does not allow any company to report or advertise a favorable rating by Consumer Reports. That’s why you see ads such as “top rated by consumers.”

    Secondly, CU members are a demanding and dedicated lot, they spare no mercy on the products and services evaluated (e.g., when considering a used car, CR’s satisfaction and repair histories are relied upon by millions every year).

    Third, AFAIK no one questions the accuracy of what CR publishes, including annual surveys. (It should be noted that no business/service ever seriously challenges the accuracy of results.

    What really matters in today’s announcement is consumers’ biggest complaint about the carriers, plan pricing. Every consumer interviewed on the national news today (that is, in conjunction with the coverage of CR annual wireless survey results) complained about prices being too high.

    In other words, customer service is not what is newsworthy, it is that subscribers are fed up with carriers’ money grab and customers are now doing something about it.

    For now carriers don’t worry about price gouging since they figure that consumers don’t have anywhere to go and/or are too busy/lazy/stupid to shop around. But they are mistaken as millions are discovering the value of moving to prepaid.

    Of course the most criminal act is that while the carriers come up with schemes to rip people off, they don’t improve service but instead come up with ways to cut back on services, aka less services for more money.

    Here is how an ABC broadcast reported things. Carriers need to be concerned:

    “Cellphones keep getting smarter and customers keep getting more frustrated with the high cost of  staying in touch.  Some people say they don’t understand why the bills are so high, others say they’re outrageous, and that there seem to be extra charges for no reason.

    The big nationwide cellphone carriers come up short when it comes to value for the money in Consumer Reports’ annual survey of its readers. Sprint edged out the others.

    “Sprint is the last of the big carriers to offer unlimited data plans, which can make a big difference
    if you surf the web or if you download lots of apps and videos,” said Rosalind Tordesillas from Consumer Reports.  If you’re someone who only calls and texts, a small national carrier, Consumer Cellular, beat out the big carriers for value. “Consumer Cellular is definitely worth considering. When we compared plans, this company had the best rates most often, especially for the basics,” said Tordesillas.

    A prepaid service is another money-saving option for people who call or text only occasionally. “There’s no contract with prepaid phones. You just pay for minutes or texts as you go,” said Tordesillas.

    Tracfone was rated among the best prepaid carriers in Consumer Reports’ satisfaction survey. Another way to cut your costs is to shop for a phone in stores like Walmart, Costco, or Radio Shack. The selection may not be as wide, but you can save money — a smart move, whether you’re getting a smartphone or not”

    • jon

      You really like to hear yourself blog don’t you? Before making wild claims about jd power you should read their faq page..a quick glance on that page will dispell your “bought and paid for” claim. The following is straight from their page….
      How can J.D. Power and Associates information be unbiased when manufacturers pay for the studies?J.D. Power and Associates syndicated studies generally are not funded by the companies that are measured. The firm’s syndicated studies are funded and owned by the firm and based on the aggregated responses of consumer perceptions of product quality and customer satisfaction —not the opinions of J.D. Power and Associates. After the study results are published, manufacturers, retailers, suppliers, and other industry participants can choose whether or not to purchase the study. Ownership of study data is key to the firm’s independence and unbiased position. This third-party perspective enables J.D. Power and Associates to provide clients and consumers with credible and clear feedback. Although J.D. Power and Associates does conduct custom research for many clients to help drive quality and customer satisfaction improvement, results of this type of proprietary research are owned by the clients that commission the research and the results are not made available to the public.

      While CR is a credible tool, so too is jd power. And your “case” to strengthen CR reputation by smearing jd power is just stupid babel on your part…

      • G P

        Will Consumer Reports sell me the opportunity to put together a study that my company will win? JD Power will. There’s your difference.

      • Tbyrne

        Great rebuttal!

      • ItsMichaelNotMike

        Oh, OK, that’s where I go to find the truth, to the wrongdoer’s website. (In fact, if I want to get the latest on the AT&T acquisition I will check out AT&T’s pages.

        I duly note JD Power has its defenders. They were around when American car manufacturers were plastering pages with JD Power awards, while at the same time CR surveys were saying those same cars were the worst vehicles on the road.

        But yeah… I can see AT&T or T-Mobile losing customers and some exec commanding “get some full page ads out there, saying how great we are, those ads with JD Power awards!”

      • ItsMichaelNotMike

        You don’t really understand the concept behind posting in here, do you. Research Google AdSense.

  • Anonymous

    “… and many billions of dollars in capital investment to continue to improve our network.”

    And you still suck.

    • Dion_orea

      Idk about that pimpstrong. They just barely released 3g at my house which I was suffering through 2G for awhile.Though, while I must admit it isn’t very stable to get on xbox live even though I get 95 ping and close to 2 on download and 1.25 on upload so who knows.

  • all the complaints about ATT and it still doesn’t deter people from either signing new contracts or renewing existing ones.

    • No _ATT_77

      It is puzzling,  I know It deterred me  from signing a new contract with ATT….

  • classact

    I disagree I have at&t as my wireless phone and Verizon as my wireless internet.  I have to say as far as them knowing what they are doing I have to pick at&t. I have been having problems with my verizon for about 6 months now at first they were saying it was just my towers but my husband travels all over and he is having problems with his, then it was his sim card.  Which doesn’t explain mine.  Then it was the  modem replaced it and still having a problem what now.   You may not like what at&t has to say but at least they get it right the first time and are not afraid to say that the problem is on their end.  Also at&t vs Verizon I have never had a problem with at&t removing something from my bill where as I have had problems with Verizon.  Now thinking of moving internet service to at&t because of the problems tired of paying for a internet service that I can’t use half of the time.

    • Tmobile Fan _77

       I know It deterred me and millions of others  from signing a new contract with ATT….

  • Hope t-mobile doesn’t get bought by AT&T and that T-Mobile gets some more Windows Phones, with bigger screens and more memory than the Radar. 

    Nokia Lumia 800 please.

  • Anonymous

    “Hope is a longing for a future condition over which you have no agency; it means you are essentially powerless.” – Derrick Jensen

    • ItsMichaelNotMike

      Ah yes, that pantywaist word “hope.”

      “When hope dies, action begins.”

      Months ago I stopped hoping that T-Mobile would offer long-term customers something similar to the old Loyalty Plans. Hope died and I took action, I switched to prepaid. :)

  • Lcc1_

    I freaking hate ATT. They sucked 10 yra ago w/cust service and continue to suck. what a surpise…not! Thats why I left them for TMo

  • Anonymous

    i was thinking on going to them if T-mo goes away. but as i see it, i rather get two bongo drums to communicate if tjst were to happen.

  • 21stNow

    Am I missing something obvious?  I clicked on register as a commenter, but it keeps looping me out to the blogger registration website.

  • Wayne

    My experience with Verizon was so bad I change to T-Mobile.   The CS reps always (9 out of 10)  portrayed the attitude of “you don’t have a choice”.  I would rank them T-moble, AT&T, Sprint, Mom and Pop, etc, and Verizon under the sewer.  AT&T has always been helpful and pleasant when I call to get subsidy unlock codes.

  • moviefan

    I just left T-Mobile FOR AT&T and I couldn’t be happier. I was calling 611 with T-Mobile on any given afternoon for example and was on hold for 55 minutes before anyone picked up. A few years ago they would pick up within a minute. Their customer service has gone down the toilet the past few years not to mention dropped calls, poor service and no signal in a lot of spots. Everywhere I wasn’t getting a signal with T-Mobile I am getting bars with AT&T. It’s like a dream. Good riddance T-Mobile. I couldn’t wait until my contract I was up to get out.

  • CTH9814696