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Most iPhone owners still happy with AT&T despite network

updated 12:55 pm EDT, Fri July 23, 2010

US iPhone users happy with ATT in most places

In spite of AT&T's reputation, US iPhone owners are happier on average with the network than the rest of the industry, the Yankee Group found in a study today. About 73 percent of those with Apple's phone were "very satisfied" with AT&T. While not high, the group is above the 69 percent average for the industry and AT&T's own slightly below average 68 percent.

Analyst Carl Howe explained the approval as another instance of a halo effect created by the device: subscribers "transfer the high gloss" of the iPhone to the carrier and are more willing to forgive any perceived flaws. AT&T customers typically pay more than most smartphone customers in the US, particularly Sprint and T-Mobile users. Certain cities are also known as trouble spots, such as New York City and San Francisco; Yankee Group researchers didn't study satisfaction by region to see if this had an effect.

Android's effect on Verizon customers wasn't studied, although the CDMA network has quickly become the home of Google's platform and has had multiple high-profile launches in less than a year.

The subject of loyalty has grown steadily more important for AT&T as signs have mounted that its exclusive period for the iPhone is nearing its end. Most talk has centered on a Verizon model, but a T-Mobile version may be ready soon as well. Many have anticipated mass defections from AT&T in areas where its service is overwhelmed to whichever new carriers are available. [via CNN]

by MacNN Staff



  1. lkrupp

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Analyst Carl Howe...

    Halo effect my hind end. It's just like the antenna issue and every other "issue" associated with Apple. A very small, vocal minority starts screaming about this or that issue. Because it's Apple the tech media pick it up, hungry for clicks and any hint of scandal or negative spin. The minority's issue quickly becomes "everybody's" issue and the tech blogs go crazy.

    The simple fact from this survey is that the majority of at&t's customers are quite satisfied with their service. No analysis required, no halo effect B.S. from some dude trying to explain his own bias. Other tech blogs are reporting this report too, all the with same amazement at the results as MacNN. The tech blog site psyche has convinced itself that at&t is crappy so any data showing the opposite needs to be analyzed and explained because, well, it doesn't fit in with the group psychosis.

    Again, just because you see sick people in the hospital (tech blogs) doesn't mean the entire town is also sick, or even a significant number are sick.

  1. jamesfabin

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I've seen massive improvements with ATT

    I became an ATT customer for the first iPhone, leaving Verizon and paying an early termination fee. Over the years I've had a greater number of dropped calls on ATT and my experience with customer service wasn't all that impressive. Today my phone has poor reception at home, you really need to go out on the back deck to keep a call from dropping, but it works very well in most other places. One year ago I would have rated ATT as a poor choice, but I've seen massive improvements over the last 12 months. In the last month I've had 3 calls with support about different issues - from not able to determine why my phone bill jumped to over $250 a month (iPhone 4 upgrade fee buried on page 5 of 10) to trying to figure out why I had 3 phone numbers and only 2 phones. The customer service was able to resolve everything very quickly, and was very friendly the entire time. I actually asked the customer service rep on my last call if they were with ATT or Apple - the level of service felt like Apple, but it was an ATT rep. With the improvements in customer service over the last year, my feelings towards ATT have improved.

    That doesn't mean there still isn't room for improvements - why I get a 10 page bill that needs a PHD to understand is beyond me for a technology company living in a "green" world. Make the bill easier to read and understand, get it down to 2 pages would be a great move. I never imagined being told to go to page 5, down the page halfway and look in the middle column. The training they are doing with support needs to continue - it's been a great improvement for the company. And I'd like to see ATT do more to manage their email (yesterday I received 6 emails from ATT, each the same except the store address listed).

    With the improvements I'm seeing, I see now reason to consider jumping ship when the iPhone becomes available on other networks.

  1. chefpastry

    Joined: Dec 1969


    AT&T works great for me

    I'm in downtown Manhattan, NYC and AT&T has worked fine for me for years. I never did understand what all the AT&T bashing was about.

  1. c4rlob

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I am not happy with AT&T signal reliability.

    My block in Brooklyn has about 60% reliability. But I spend only half my day on my block. Most other places it's very reliable. But the entirety of AT&T service and the iPhone is what wins me. For me, simultaneous voice+data plus rollover minutes makes AT&T better than Verizon. Like Apple, AT&T gets it that you need multiple features to win people over. A single feature may sway a temporary decision, but you need more than that to win long-term loyalty.

  1. Drunken Economist

    Joined: Dec 1969


    agree with Ikrupp's first paragraph

    Sorry, but a number of customers are NOT satisfied with AT&T's so-called 'reliability'.

    They drop about 40% of what calls I make from my iPhone 3GS. They used to drop the same from the Nokia 668x I used to have.

    AT&T's only saving graces (in my book) are: mobile to mobile, rollover minutes (when I can get a voice signal), and my grandfathered data plan. If any one of these were to fall (especially the data) I'd probably jump ship.

  1. DA360

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Thanks to Cin. Bell & AT&T sharing towers...

    Thanks to AT&T and Cincinnati Bell Wireless sharing the same towers and GSM bands as well as Cincinnati Bell having built a CRAPTON of towers (I mean, driving down the roads here, their literally everywhere), AT&T is actually one of the best carriers here. The only time I ever dropped a call is in a remote area where I was barely getting one bar as it is.

    Here in Cincinnati, my personal ranking of major carriers is like this:
    Verizon (Close tie in mainland coverage but better coverage in the far-out rural areas here)
    AT&T (Close tie in mainland coverage but faster data in the mainland areas here)
    Sprint (Their coverage here is AWFUL)

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    The question is "What questions did the Yankee Group ask?"

    Did they just ask "How satisfied are you?"

    Or did they ask things like "Do you have issues?", "Would you consider switching carriers if you could take your iPhone?".

    h***, there are people who'd put up with having ATT c*** on their front lawn and piss in their shoes as long as they could have their iPhone.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Thanks to Cin. Bell

    Thanks to AT&T and Cincinnati Bell Wireless sharing the same towers and GSM bands as well as Cincinnati Bell having built a CRAPTON of towers...AT&T is actually one of the best carriers here.

    I'm sorry, but I have to point out what should be completely obvious to you. Cincinnati bell should be on top of your list. They actually seem to spend money on putting up towers and servicing their community. ATT is just jumping on board to save cash.

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