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Verizon Dominates, Sprint Struggles in Latest Wireless Rankings

Wireless Waves

Verizon handily beat its carrier peers in the latest network performance study.

J.D. Power declared Verizon the winner of all six geographical regions in the 2019 Volume 2 U.S. Wireless Network Quality Performance Study. Only U.S. Cellular managed to match Verizon in one of the categories.

The study queried 33,401 wireless customers, who reported the number of problems they experienced around call quality, messaging quality and data quality for every 100 connections. The respondents included cellphone, tablet and mobile broadband device users.

It’s no surprise that Verizon swept every category. The company has done so since the 2016 Volume 2 study — which adds up to six straight sweeps.

JD Power Wireless Network

Mid-Atlantic Rankings, Courtesy of J.D. Power

AT&T finished second or third in each region, and T-Mobile followed close behind. The study included Chicago-based U.S. Cellular in only the North Central region, as the company serves 23 states.

Sprint finished last in all but one category.

Business Insider’s Peter Newman wrote that Sprint’s proposed merger with T-Mobile could potentially help the companies topple Verizon in future wireless quality rankings.

“The study also underlines, though, that potential partners T-Mobile and Sprint need each others’ help to reinforce network coverage and boost quality. Sprint’s network quality came in last (or tied for last) in every region; T-Mobile fared better in some regions but was still behind Verizon across the board,” Newman said.

Although Verizon is the clear No. 1, each carrier improved year over year, according to J.D. Power. Their customers as a whole complained less about wireless quality, app performance and dropped calls.

Service providers are improving their data speed and connectivity — and why? According to J.D. Power, they’re reevaluating all aspects of their network as they prepare for the 5G wave.

Greenblatt, Ian_J.D. Power

J.D. Power’s Ian Greenblatt

“Wireless carriers are making significant investments in their infrastructure as they get ready to start the broader rollout of 5G networks,” said Ian Greenblatt, J.D. Power’s managing director of technology, media and telecommunications intelligence. “Those continued investments are paying off in clear-cut quality improvement across all aspects of the wireless user experience, from phone calls to streaming media to app use, and it’s happening on a nationwide basis with every brand in our study.”

Greenblatt noted earlier this year that rural areas suffered the worst wireless network quality.

“As consumers anxiously await the availability of 5G outside of urban areas, providers that have invested in current 4G LTE infrastructure to improve network quality in the rural areas they serve have seen the fewest amount of network problems,” he said. “It is no secret that the ROI on investing in rural areas is quite low, but as more rural customers shift to unlimited data plans, the notable incremental demand on the system necessitates investment to maintain the reliable network quality those customers have come to expect and enjoy.”

JD Power Wireless Network

North Central Rankings, Courtesy of J.D. Power

We compiled a gallery about J.D. Power’s recent Business Wireline Satisfaction Study.


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