Coming as no surprise to the millions of iPhone users whose calls just got dropped, Consumer Reports announced today that AT&T is the lowest-scoring cell-phone carrier in the U.S., according to a satisfaction survey of 58,000 ConsumerReports.org readers.
Of all of the carriers reviewed in the survey, only AT&T suffered a statistically meaningful drop in satisfaction among its customers over the past year. Surprisingly, at least to me, was the fact that U.S. Cellular beat out every major provider, including Verizon Wireless.
The survey covered a total of nine categories, asking respondents to rate their carrier on overall value, voice and data service, phone support, staff knowledge, and resolution of issues, among others. AT&T scored an overall 60 out of a possible 100 points across the various categories; a full 9 points below the nearest competitor, T-Mobile.
Sprint also made an amazing turnaround this year, leaping ahead of T-Mobile and virtually tying Verizon. Consumer Reports claims that Sprint even scored better than Verizon in some aspects of customer service.
And yet the bad news for AT&T couldn’t have come at a worse time. With Verizon poised to be offering the iPhone on their network as early as January 2011, an industry analyst has estimated that around 6 million iPhone users could abandon AT&T for Verizon once their smartphone of choice is available elsewhere.
I’ve reported on this possibility previously here at The Flickcast, and while I still believe that AT&T will surely bleed millions of customers in early 2011, many iPhone owners will cringe at the notion of shelling out another few hundred bucks for a Verizon-compatible iPhone, not to mention the possibility of an early contract termination fee. That one-two punch will at least draw out the losses for AT&T over much of next year, as many iPhone users try to run out the clock on their current contract before making the switch.
So what do you think? Are you an iPhone owner ready to abandon ship? We’d love to hear from you. Be sure to sound off in the comments section.