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Survey: AT&T Worst in Customer Service

Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) is having a good month. It seems to be winning the 3G he said-she said coverage wars and now, according to a new survey, also boasts the best customer satisfaction rates in the country.

Consumer Reports this week released the results of a new poll that contains feedback from more than 50,000 readers in 26 U.S. cities about the top four wireless service providers. AT&T Inc. (T) received the lowest rankings in 19 of those cities. Verizon came in at the top.

AT&T got poor marks for voice service and came in average for messaging, Web browsing and e-mail. The carrier’s customer service over the phone and over the Web came in at the bottom, too, along with staff knowledge and subscriber issue resolution. Overall, AT&T’s score totaled 66 points.

Verizon, on the other hand, landed a score of 75.

T-Mobile came in second, thanks mostly to responses for superior customer support. And Sprint Nextel Corp. (S), the nation’s third-largest wireless provider, scored 67 points for average service and sub-par customer support. Sprint has incurred a reputation for bad subscriber relations, though, since the Nextel takeover.

AT&T has a lot of PR work to do if it wants to refurbish its increasingly tarnished image. The exclusive iPhone carrier already has taken a hit for operating a slow 3G network – iPhone users complain of slow download speeds and spotty coverage. And Verizon has taken full advantage of that weakness in recent “There’s A Map for That” ads, for which AT&T has sued its larger rival (and, so far, lost) and launched a (really sad) TV campaign featuring actor Luke Wilson.

Despite Verizon’s apparent edge in the PR wars, though, AT&T does have an advantage, according to Consumer Reports: 98 percent of iPhone users would buy the handset again, even if it means dealing with AT&T.


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