Verizon is no longer the nation's best wireless carrier,
according to Consumer Reports readers. T-Mobile has taken the reins. Consumer
Reports' nationwide survey is only in its fifth year, but it's the first
time Verizon wasn't ranked No. 1 among the Big Four.
The difference in the rankings was not significant: T-Mobile
received an overall score of 73 out of 100, followed by Verizon (70), AT&T
(68) and Sprint (67). The results are based on Consumer Reports readers'
sentiments about their carriers' value, voice quality, texting services, Web
problems, data speeds and customer support. Notably, every one of the major
carriers ranked well below regional and discount services, including No. 1
Consumer Cellular, Ting, Jitterbug, Credo, Virgin Mobile and U.S. Cellular.
There are many ways to rank wireless network quality, and
the cell phone companies typically favor the surveys that shine a positive
light on their services. RootMetrics, which surveys network quality across the
country, ranked Verizon first and T-Mobile last in the first half of 2015.
Ookla, which uses crowdsourced data, ranked T-Mobile first and Verizon second.
Consumer Reports readers were most satisfied with T-Mobile
customer support and value, though they ranked the network's call and data
quality below that of Verizon and AT&T. Only Sprint was found to have
more Web problems and slower data speeds than T-Mobile. But T-Mobile is
winning its customers over with its "Uncarrier" promotions, including
free international roaming, data rollover, and the ability to stream unlimited
movies and music on the network without taxing monthly data limits.
Remarkably, consumer sentiment about wireless carriers has
grown across the board, due in large part to the fact that T-Mobile has forced
competitors to respond with lower prices, contract-free plans and more
customer-friendly features. Every carrier improved its rankings compared to
2014. Last year, Verizon and T-Mobile were in a virtual tie with a
rating of 69 out of 100.
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