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Verizon tops JD Power call quality study, AT&T mixed

updated 10:55 am EST, Fri March 4, 2011

Verizon leads early 2011 call quality study

JD Power's latest call quality study has given Verizon the lead in call quality for its 13th consecutive period. The CDMA carrier had significantly better call quality in the US northeast, southeast, southwest and west. It only fell short of an unambiguous lead in the mid-Atlantic, where it was tied with AT&T, and in the north central area, where US Cellular had the fewest call problems.

Despite stereotypes, AT&T only seldomly had below-par call quality. It ranked last in the west, where its historically poor San Francisco Bay Area network dragged it down, and in the north central area, where Chicago has had trouble. Call quality in the southeast and southwest, including states like Florida and Texas, defined the average.

T-Mobile was more often below average, though this might be owed to its younger 3G network. Sprint was mixed and sometimes above or below the average.

Researchers at JD Power warned that smartphones may have been reducing call quality overall. Although it had been improving quickly for most carriers between 2003 and 2009, quality has remained flat from then on as heavy data use has kept it down. A smartphone user or a frequent texter is more likely to encounter problems with service, averaging a respective 13 and 14 problems for every 100 calls. Basic phone users encounter a fewer 11 problems but have seen their failure rate go up.

The examination ranged between July and December and notably didn't have time to cover the Verizon iPhone launch. Verizon said it had braced its network for the impact of the iPhone but might more problems with iOS joining Android and BlackBerry on its network.

by MacNN Staff



  1. yticolev

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Their rationales for poor quality calls make little sense. Why would a frequent data user's call quality suffer?

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: What?

    Their rationales for poor quality calls make little sense. Why would a frequent data user's call quality suffer?

    They aren't making a rationale. They're just pointing to a statistical indicator that smart phone users or those doing heavy texting encounter more phone problems. They're not telling you why that is, just that it seems to be an occurrence. And if it is so, then the more smart phones being used will increase the number of problems users have overall.

    And it doesn't say a frequent data user, it states a smart phone user or frequent texter. Not sure why texting would matter, but, again, they aren't explaining it, just stating it. As for the smart phone, maybe the smart phones in general have issues, such as the data receivers interfering with the antennas. Or that the 'basic' phones are working on the older and more reliable networks.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I agree

    Despite stereotypes, AT&T only seldomly had below-par call quality.

    That's perfectly true. Between the time I finally can get my call to go through until it unceremoniously cuts me off, my calls on ATT always sound pretty good.

  1. xmlaroux

    Joined: Dec 1969


    2nd that testudo

    I carry both an ATT blackberry and a Verizon Droid. My ATT drops calls all the time, where my Droid will hold steady most of the time. I do think the clarity on ATT is a little better, but the drops absolutely kill it.

  1. facebook_Justin

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Mar 2011


    comment title

    Tell me, JD, how is Verizon's call quality when roaming in Europe? Oh, whats that? No signal there? How bout in almost every other country on Earth? No signal there either?

  1. facebook_Kevin

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Mar 2011


    more information

    find out more about this study by visiting the article below

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