updated 12:00 pm EST, Mon December 6, 2010
ATT at back of Consumer Reports call, data results
AT&T is at the back of the rankings for carrier service quality in the US, Consumer Reports said in its latest paper issue. Having already been near the back in the 2009 study, its overall score this year was just 60, well back from T-Mobile's 69. It ranked as "worse" in every category except for text messaging, where it was still below average.
US Cellular had the top spot at 82 while Verizon and Sprint were unusually close at 74 and 73, respectively.
The study also made a preemptive rebuttal of claims that AT&T issues were only limited to major trouble spots such as New York City and San Francisco. AT&T scored the lowest in cities like Denver, Detroit and Houston, with Verizon almost always having the highest score. A lone victory came from the iPhone 4 and the Samsung Captivate tying for the best phones along with other Galaxy S phones on other networks, such as the Epic 4G at Sprint and Vibrant at T-Mobile. Verizon here unusually fared just slightly worse with 75-point scores for its Galaxy S variant, the Fascinate, as well as the Motorola Droid X.
An AT&T spokesperson responded to the tests, repeating its familiar insistence that it led speed tests and that its dropped call rate was near-identical to others. The study has been challenged as it was both conducted by the same company that tests AT&T's network and didn't break down results by area, which would have likely shown major issues in key cities.
AT&T has fought to upgrade its network aggressively since virtually the start of iPhone service. Despite improvements, though, it has still had trouble keeping up with demand even with a move to the much more open 850MHz 3G band and significant capacity upgrades. Verizon hasn't been growing as quickly as AT&T due to the iPhone's current exclusivity, but it has also coped with its network load even with a large number of Android phones.
A widely expected Verizon iPhone may both help users by mating the phone with better service in the short term but also by improving AT&T's load, as customers in some locations may defect to Verizon and reduce the strain on the existing network. [via Houston Chronicle]