updated 10:25 am EDT, Mon September 8, 2008
ATT Trails in Call Q Ranks
AT&T has come in last or near-last for call quality in virtually all of the US, according to JD Power's second wave of 2008 call quality rankings. The carrier placed last in four out of six regions and was never able to produce better than a three-out-of-five rating in the results, which measure the number of dropped or failed calls as well as the quality of calls themselves and the responsiveness of the text and voicemail systems. Verizon led the results with the top spot in three of the areas and was followed by Alltel with two wins; both Sprint and US Cellular tied for third with one lead each.
JD Power doesn't explain the likely reasons behind the difference in results, though all of the winners are based on CDMA phone networks versus the GSM of both AT&T and its opponent T-Mobile; the latter fared almost as poorly in the latest study but still produced a four-out-of-five result in one area.
The ratings may serve to refocus AT&T and similarly affected carriers, which are facing an increasingly saturated market and thus have to concern themselves more than before with retaining customrs. As many as 51 percent of customers determined to switch carriers will do so because of call quality issues, the research group says.
Research was also conducted between February and June and so may result in further damage to AT&T's reputation for 2009's first call quality report, which may be inflated by iPhone 3G dropped call issues. The company has been partly combating this and more universal problems by expanding and upgrading its 3G network such that supporting phones see an increase in quality.