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Almost First to Worst: Sprint Plummets in Customer Satisfaction

By Craig Galbraith
November 21, 2013 - News

Sprint, which just a year ago was a close second behind Verizon in Consumer Reports' rating of U.S. cellphone service, did a face-plant this year, falling to last among the four major carriers.

The well-known consumer mag polled more than 58,000 wireless subscribers. Sprint got dismal marks in just about every category, including voice, text, 4G reliability and value.

“I hope Sprint can recover with the help of Softbank. It will be important not only for Sprint, but for the entire industry," said technology industry analyst Jeff Kagan. "The United States demands quality. There is room for multiple high quality carriers in the marketplace. Let’s hope Sprint can catch their second wind over the next year or two and recover from this dismal report."

Verizon Wireless was again named the best of the big boys, getting high marks for data service and some aspects of customer service. AT&T and T-Mobile got mostly ho-hum marks, though AT&T was the only one of the big four to get a top rating for 4G service reliability. T-Mobile just edged out AT&T for second place overall, jumping from fourth a year ago.

Consumer Cellular, a tiny wireless provider headquartered in suburban Portland, Ore., took top honors in Consumer Reports' research. The operator got stellar scores across the board, even though it uses the same network as lower-ranked AT&T. As a rule, smaller operators and no-contract prepaid companies such as Consumer Cellular and TracFone rated better than the major standard providers in customer satisfaction. Consumers cite the availability of high-quality phones, relatively reliable service and simpler, more consumer-friendly plans as reasons for their satisfaction with the little guys.

Follow senior online managing editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.

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