updated 01:25 pm EST, Tue December 6, 2011
Regional carriers take top honors
Consumer Reports has released its annual satisfaction survey, which ranks AT&T at the bottom of the list once again. Respondents maintained similar ratings for the carrier, which showed the worst scores of all four major US carriers in last year's survey. Verizon also showed consistency, holding its position as the best-rated major carrier.
Several smaller players actually outscored Verizon, with Consumer Cellular holding the top position among all carriers. Interestingly enough, the survey leader is a virtual network operator that primarily utilizes AT&T's network for its national coverage.
Taking a closer look at the scores, Verizon customers reported particular satisfaction with the company's texting and data services, along with staff knowledge. Sprint scored just behind Verizon, while there was a significant gap in scores between the third position, held by T-Mobile, and AT&T.
The results continue to show that AT&T's problems are likely widespread, rather than limited to service in major cities. The company has also had several years to adapt its network to increasing data usage, which spiked when the carrier was the exclusive iPhone distributor.
"Our survey indicates that subscribers to prepaid and smaller standard-service providers are happiest overall with their cell-phone service," said Consumer Reports electronics editor in a blog post. "The major carriers are still leading options for many consumers, and we found they ranged widely in how well they satisfied their customers."