Telecom & Wireless

The Best and Worst Customer Service in the Mobile Carrier Industry

When it comes to industries that consistently reap poor customer service ratings, the mobile phone network carriers usually rank right down there with the pay-TV companies — that is at the very bottom. But that may be changing.

And speaking of poor performers, 50% of the four major U.S. mobile network carriers and 50% of the eight major pay-TV providers scored in the bottom 10 of all 150 companies and 17 industries included in a recent survey we commissioned from Zogby Analytics. The survey included a telephone interview with 1,500 randomly selected U.S. consumers. Respondents were asked to rate their satisfaction level with a company’s customer service on a scale of “excellent,” “good,” “fair,” and “poor” for each company.

We reported our overall findings in our Customer Service Hall of Fame and Customer Service Hall of Shame stories published in August. We have also broken out and taken a look at the pay-TV industry and its poor customer service ratings.

Here is a listing of mobile carriers ranked from best to worst based on the percentage of “excellent” ratings they received in the survey. Also included are the percentage of “poor ratings” and the revenues generated by the entire company, not just the mobile business.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ)
> Overall rank: 49th
> Pct. “excellent” ratings: 33.43%
> Pct. “poor” ratings: 14.98%
> Revenue last fiscal year: $125.98 billion

Verizon is the largest of the four major U.S. carriers, with 147.2 million subscribers at the end of the second quarter of 2017. That it is also the most highly rated is partly due to the breadth of its coverage and its network reliability. However, the company lost its top spot in the network rankings last month based on data from network monitoring firm OpenSignal.

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)
> Overall rank: 58th
> Pct. “excellent” ratings: 31.91%
> Pct. “poor” ratings: 19.69%
> Revenue last fiscal year: $163.79 billion

Both AT&T’s cellular phone service branch and U-verse, its fiber-optic television service, rank among the companies with the worst customer service. For each service, nearly one in every five survey respondents rated their experience with the company as poor. AT&T had 136.5 million subscribers at the end of the second quarter.

T-Mobile US Inc. (NYSE: TMUS)
> Overall rank: 77th
> Pct. “excellent” ratings: 30.46%
> Pct. “poor” ratings: 15.7%
> Revenue last fiscal year: $37.24 billion

T-Mobile is now the third largest mobile carrier in the country, with 73.9 million subscribers. Reported negotiations between T-Mobile and Sprint would create a carrier with about 130 million subscribers and may pose a real threat to the top two mobile companies.

Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S)
> Overall rank: 143rd
> Pct. “excellent” ratings: 22.01%
> Pct. “poor” ratings: 20.55%
> Revenue last fiscal year: $35.34 billion

More than one in five surveyed Sprint customers rate the company’s service as poor, the largest share of any major wireless carrier and the fourth largest share of any large company overall. Sprint claimed 53.7 million subscribers.

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