T-Mobile outshines Verizon in customer satisfaction, but AT&T is rapidly closing the gap

T-Mobile outshines Verizon in customer satisfaction, but AT&T is rapidly closing the gap
Another day, another independent report ranking T-Mobile ahead of its competition in the cutthroat wireless industry. This time around, the "Un-carrier" is not commended for its market-leading 5G coverage or unrivaled customer care services, instead taking the "US wireless purchase experience" top prize in the latest in-depth J.D. Power study, just as the nation's now second-largest mobile network operator did for the previous five volumes.

This particular "volume" is based on more than 13,000 customer surveys conducted between January and June 2020, which highlighted T-Mo's superiority over AT&T, Verizon, and yes, Sprint in providing satisfying "purchase experiences" both by phone and in physical stores.

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In a nutshell, Magenta's customers are the happiest among those of America's big four wireless service providers with the help and support they get when buying new phones, opening new accounts, adding lines, upgrading devices, and making other changes to their plans. 

That includes a general evaluation of online contact with sales representatives, although even during a pandemic that saw many brick-and-mortar stores temporarily close their doors, the overwhelming majority of people surveyed by J.D. Power still opted for offline shopping.


Specifically, physical retail locations accounted for no less than 63 percent of sales conducted in the year's first six months in the "full-service" sector. Interestingly, while T-Mobile maintained both its full-service carrier crown and the exact 863 score (on a 1,000-point scale) from February, AT&T managed to surpass both Verizon and the 847 segment average with a score of 853, up an incredible 16 points compared to the study's volume 1 for 2020.

If Ma Bell can keep up this pace, we might have a new heavyweight wireless purchase experience champion next year, especially considering that Sprint will most likely not be measured separately from T-Mobile anymore. The "Now Network" actually managed to vastly improve its own score as well, jumping from 808 to 820 points, which is still significantly below the industry average and thus likely to harm T-Mo's 2021 total.

Verizon is also offering below-average purchase experiences, as are Virgin and Boost Mobile in the non-contract segment, which continues to be dominated by Cricket Wireless. 

The industry as a whole is continuously improving


This time around, Metro by T-Mobile is the recipient of the silver prepaid medal, with now Dish-owned Boost falling from second all the way down to fourth place as lingering uncertainty around said acquisition from T-Mobile caused a number of different problems for existing subscribers and prospective buyers of ultra-affordable phones.


With inventory shortages in the rearview mirror and a bunch of crazy cheap plans recently announced, it will certainly be interesting to see if Boost Mobile can get its mojo back under new (and somewhat controversial) management.

Finally, Consumer Cellular continues to tower above Straight Talk and TracFone Wireless in the "non-contract value" section of J.D. Power's comprehensive study, despite losing four points from February. Its 877 score is still more than enough to keep Straight Talk at bay, as well as completely crush the 843 segment average.


In case you're wondering, the industry's overall customer satisfaction in terms of wireless purchase experiences is on the rise, improving by 8 points compared to the same period of last year, thanks mainly to the declining cost of service, as well as the general level of "interactions with phone-based sales representatives."

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