Verizon Wireless First, AT&T Last in Network Quality Study

No big changes in the latest edition of J.D. Power & Associates U.S. 2011 Wireless Network Quality Performance Study Volume 2.”

Verizon Wireless is recognized as the top carrier in five U.S. regions the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Southwest and West regions. AT&T managed to take the second spot in the Southwest and Mid-Atlantic, but was bringing up the rear or close to it in most other parts of the country.

Verizon took the top spot in the Northeast for the 14th consecutive time, while US Cellular beat out all of the Big 4 in the North Central region for the 12th time in a row.

To make its determinations, J.D. Power surveyed more than 22,000 wireless customers in the first half of this year. They were asked questions about dropped and lost calls, text-messaging problems, Web-browsing issues, slow downloads, email and voice mail problems, and more.

The study also found: Were making fewer voice calls on our cell phones as we turn more toward texting wireless customers are now using 450 minutes per month, down from 529 minutes in 2009; smartphone users report more problems than those who have traditional handsets; and Salt Lake City residents report the fewest wireless problems, while folks in Sacramento, Calif., tend to have the most.

Wireless network performance is clearly inconsistent around the U.S., something the carriers need to continue to improve.

its critical that wireless carriers continue to invest in improving both the voice quality and data connection-related issues that customers continue to experience,” said Kirk Parsons, senior director of wireless services at J.D. Power and Associates.

Parsons says carriers should note that customers will pay more for a higher-quality network. Spending increases by an average of $10 per customer among those who have switched from a previous carrier to get better network/coverage, compared with those who leave for other reasons.

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