AT&T iPhone users see more than twice the dropped calls of Verizon iPhone

A recent ChangeWave report surveyed 4,068 wireless subscribers and revealed that AT&T iPhone users see more than double the amount of dropped calls compared to their Verizon iPhone peers. AT&T iPhone users reported that 4.8% of calls were unexpectedly dropped on the network, a far cry from Verizon at just 1.8% of calls. This lines up with a survey of overall cell phone customers that found 4.6% of AT&T subscribers and 1.4% of Verizon customers have reported dropped calls.

In addition, 46% of prospective iPhone 4 buyers say they will be going with Verizon, with 27% favoring AT&T and the remaining 27% still undecided. If you look back at the last survey from ChangeWave, it looks like the deciding factor for consumers on which carrier to choose is network quality and dropped calls. Based on these new results, it looks like AT&T (and the has a lot of work to do in terms of improving their network and lowering dropped calls if they want to stay competitive now that Verizon has the iPhone 4.

Consumer satisfaction was about even, with Verizon showing 82% of iPhone 4 users being very satisfied with their device compared to AT&T iPhone users at 80%. The iPhone has historically held much higher consumer satisfaction ratings than smartphone competitors like RIM and Motorola, so this didn't come as much of a surprise to us.

Are you planning on buying an iPhone 4 soon? Which carrier will you be going with, and why? Sound off in the comments below!

[ChangeWave]

Andrew Wray

Andrew Wray is a Salt Lake City, Utah based writer who focuses on news, how-tos, and jailbreak. Andrew also enjoys running, spending time with his daughter, and jamming out on his guitar. He works in a management position for Unisys Technical Services, a subsidiary of Unisys Corporation.

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There are 59 comments. Add yours.

TreSupreme says:

Talk and surf the web is a big plus tho!! LMAOOO

Keith-IA says:

Tre, talk & surf is not a big deal to Verizon customers as we've never had it (unless using wifi for data...) - AT&T is making a big deal out of it because that's all they got. And it ain't much.

Dom Lopes says:

They also have rollover minutes, 23,000 free wifi spots, the ability to do confrence calling, cheaper data plans, fast data speeds, the list goes on and on

TreSupreme says:

"They also have rollover minutes, 23,000 free wifi spots, the ability to do confrence calling, cheaper data plans, fast data speeds, the list goes on and on"
23,000 free wifi hotspots? Good to balance out their crappy coverage.
Conference calling? I can defiantly do that on Verizon.
Cheaper data plans? Yeah also limited data plans. Id rather pay 5 more dollars for unlimited.
Fast data speeds... what good is that when you only have 3 bars anyways, so you hardly ever see those high data speeds.
Rollover minutes are the only thing.

ABC says:

I have had every iPhone on AT&T and now a Verizon iPhone in the SF bay area. There is a huge difference in reliability and call stability with Verizon. The phone can be used almost anywhere and essentially NEVER drops a call. I can now use it professionally without embarrassment or frustration. The only dropped calls I get now are from AT&T iPhones on the other end. The data is another issue. AT&T data is faster, but still patchy. Verizon data is too slow to really get the best out of video streaming on the iPhone. It can also take a long time to send picture messages out even when I have 3-4 bars. I wish it were faster, but I wouldn't switch back to AT&T any time soon. If all things were equal, I would chose AT&T because of the occasional advantages of faster data and simultaneous data and voice, but they are NOT equal. Voice service issues are so severe with AT&T and the experience so frustrating, that no spec they can claim will make up for it.

JD says:

But only in 3G areas, and AT&T doesn't have good 3G coverage outside the metro areas and Interstates.
I was with AT&T and had poor or no service more often than not. Dropped calls was expected to the point I had to start every conversation with a disclaimer.
I have been on Verizon since July 2010 and not a single dropped call.
Keep your talk and surf at the same time if it works for you, I'd rather do one at a time and actually be able to do it.

zeagus says:

One of BGR's editors is switching back to ATT because he saw only a small difference in dropped calls, similar deadzone issues and missed fast data and simultanoues voice/data, multi-party calling.

Shrike says:

Isn't this dropped call ratio the same as the general survey of the two carriers? It's on the same order. ATT gets about 2x more dropped calls than Verizon. So, nothing new here.
ATT is in trouble though. Verizon is going to kill it in the USA for the next 18 months as LTE is rolled out.

cardfan says:

The chart says "last 90 days" The survey was taken March 28. The verizon iphone released on Feb 4 or so.
So folks with the verizon iphone only had it less than two months and that's only if they got it on day one. Those with AT&T iphones were asked about their last 90 days? Who would remember this?
If they consider a 2 percentage point difference as insignificant for satisfaction numbers, then a 3 point difference for dropped calls is somehow alarming considering margin of error?

DLprac says:

The key here is the percent difference. Only 2.5% difference in satisfaction. 167% difference in dropped calls.

TumnusMr says:

Statistically speaking the difference isn't really big enough to make that kind of comparison.
Besides which this is based off a user survey which relies on user perception and memory recollection, which is always going to be skewed. I'm not denying that AT&T has more dropped calls but this survey is hardly scientific and people are more likely to respond when they have had a negative experience or perceived negative experience due to all the bad press AT&T has got. Personally I haven't had a single dropped call over the last 90 days on AT&T. So the real world, actual difference may be a lot smaller between the two networks.
There's also a difference between "Call Failed" and losing reception, which this survey does not account for and most users wouldn't distinguish between the two either.

ABC says:

I personally never get these numbers anyway. I got a lot more dropped call than this survey shows, and have had all kinds of static and variable network failures on AT&T. In MY area, my Verizon iPhone is a pleasure to use, because I know I can make and hold a call. With my AT&T iPhone I was sure I couldn't. The high satisfaction ratings are probably because all smartphones are like crack, and the iPhone particularly so. People have put up with AT&T for years because the iPhone is so amazing, and hard to give up. That being said, if you have good AT&T service where you live and work, then it is a better choice by far.

jasondeno says:

Can they tell if this is from the network or the "Death Grip" defect? I often wonder which caused it when my call dumps..

lipo says:

verizon iphone will grow faster because the new lte super fast service is working awesome right now

DLprac says:

You must mean that LTE service, which the current iPhone cannot take advantage of at all? Yea, I'm sure that will help sell iPhones...

TOm says:

Use of LTE will free up bandwidth for 3G .. thats how iPhone will benefit.

Rapscallion says:

I can't speak for AT&T or Verizon, but here in Canada I am on Rogers and I can't ever remember getting a dropped call!

killakow says:

you must be in ontario? Because in Calgary Rogers is absolutely horrible!!!! I get about 4-5 dropped calls per week and I'm in the city. plus the 3G speeds are very slow at times..

Ray says:

iPhone sucks. Android rules. get with the program you trolls

AlexLovesStaudts says:

Who calls their kids Ray these days?

J says:

Obviously you need to look up TROLL as you were just TROLLING, DUH DUH DERRRRRRR, please visit androidcentral.com, BUH-BYE

TheGoToGuy says:

If your not happy with a carrier just switch...AT&T will let you out of your contract if you bitch enough....A friend of mine moved to a dead zone so they let him out. That was before the micro cell though...

Mr. Apple says:

Talk and surf aint a big deal at all
Since I've been with Verizon iPhone and it's been over a month I have not had a drop call and with AT&T it just happen to frequently...in my house with att the iPhone had 1-2 bars with Verizon I have 3-4 bars

ritav says:

I'll stick with AT&T. Unlike most Verizon users who don't know what they are missing, I really appreciate the ability to surf while on a call. Trust me it comes in really handy and it totally outweighs the amount of calls that are dropped. In my market, the drop calls are not a big factor.

TOm says:

I moved away from AT&T and soon realized what i was missing.. Trust me

RagedUSMC says:

I have an iphone and im on AT&T and i dont drop any calls!

OrionAntares#CB says:

It will be funny when Verizon completes their first stage roll out for LTE and suddenly has the same Data/Voice coverage area as AT&T as well as faster speeds but at the same time still has 3G data speeds and better call quality out in the other areas that AT&T STILL runs only 2G...

Ryan L says:

I haven't dropped a single call in the month I've had the Verizon iPhone 4. More than worth the voice/data tradeoff, in my opinion.

omfgitsjustin says:

AT&T surfing while on a call= Pointless.
Nobody can actively type a google search and read results all while STILL TALKING to the person on the phone. The brain can't do both at once. So while you research your web results, your minutes are being wasted while you don't say anything to that person on the phone.
Just say "Hey, i'll call you back".
I tried to talk and surf via wifi for 3 days on my Verizon iPhone. It felt pointless because i found myself talking to the person on the call and not absorbing the info I was searching for or reading the search results and remaining quiet on the call.
P.S. Look at the AT&T ad with the guy who forgot his anniversary. He barely talks while he surfs during the call.....

J says:
  1. you don't know how to multi-task
  2. Remember 'Adios minutes' commercial, so no wasted minutes, sorry. Rollover minutes AND now mobile to any mobile 'carrier' (yes certain tier'd plan, but still) not wasting anything.
  3. "...he barely talks" b/c he fumbling to get out of the office, DUH DUH DERRRRRR
    GET IT RIGHT OMGFAGGITJUSTIN
Mike says:

Are you high? I do it all the time with customers on the phone and contrOl their computers via LogMeIn. It's extremely convenient.

Limegrntaln says:

Someone rides the short bus. I buy movie tickets and bid on eBay, search google maps. Put them on speaker and type away. And to talk to one girl on the phone while you text another, just put it on vibrate so your caller doesn't hear the text message tones.

OmariJames says:

It's the "hey I'll call you back " that is the main point of why it's better to have voice/data.

Moonbase0ne says:

If you can chew bubblegum and walk at the same time, I'm sure it's not to difficult to talk to someone on the phone while surfing or looking up info on the web. I do it mostly when I am talking to costumer service agents or paying a bill online or whatever. I just put them on speaker phone or use my Bluetooth headset.
Seriously, it's not that hard, unless, maybe you took the short bus to school growing up.

Ron says:

@omfgitsjustin. Seriously? I think most people can put someone on speaker, and look up information and relay that information to the person we are speaking with.

Analog Spirit says:

Exactly, I'm on AT&T and I do this quite often. Multitasking isn't my forté, but I still easily manage to carry on a conversation while I'm online on my phone. It comes in really handy, esp. when I need to look something up for someone, or when I'm coordinating plans to meet someone somewhere and we need to share info about that event and/or location, either on a map or a website. So I'd never even consider going to Verizon (or any carrier) until they can fully enable simultaneous voice and data on their network.

mark419ny says:

i drop at least 2 calls a day . i am on att and i live in nyc my friends say it sounds like im in a fish tank when i call them or they say oh you got the i cant make a call phone but its ok i will stay with att. i get a 23% discount i got a free microcell countless rollover minutes unlimed data and now unlimited mobile to any mobile. i pay 80 bucks a month with verizon i would need the 900 min plan 59.99 data 30 text 20 thats 110 plus tax i pay 80 all in with att. the voice and data same time thing is not a big deal at all your lying if you say it is but you are forgetting one thing.VERY IMPORTANT if your on the phone with a girl you dont want to talk to (or guy if your a girl) or they keep calling you just blame it on att works everytime and its priceless

Macboy74 says:

I'd like to know where these people that have dropped calls live. I have had a iPhone on AT&T since day one and my girl has one on Verizon and we never have dropped calls. Though there are times where she has no service o. Her phone period. And I friends and family that have AT&T as well and never had a problem. Never understood what the problem is where these people have problems with these carriers.

Andres says:

I have two iPhones on AT&T and I was just let off of contract due to not getting calls or being able to call out all of the sudden for the last 3 months. No one can figure it out. They’ve opened 3 cases so far on their network and always say they’ve fixed it yet nothing changes. Apple swapped out the phones, we got new sim cards. Neither AT&T or Apple care. I’ve always had great service until recently. I never had dropped calls, now I get them 5% of the time.

Josh says:

If one more person says you can't talk and surf the web at the same time I'm going to go crazy. For one the only time you can talk and use data at the same time is if you got 3G on the phone. Come on we all know that rare if ur outside all the cities In the US. Hell even In the city it goes to edge alot. So get your crap straight and quiet backing up a worthless company that don't like to invest back into there own company. They take the easy way out all the time Which is why there network is no where near quality of Verizon and probably never will be honestly. Had iPhone on AT&T and then went back to Verizon again and have the iPhone now. I will never leave Verizon again. Data every where and good voice network. Which is what I look for in a wireless company. Not all the childess bs like talking and surfing with dropped calls and poor and five minutes to connect a call and all for the exact price as verizon. How thoughtful of you AT&T.

Glenn#IM says:

Free WiFi is great until some one wants to play a game, and your speed is crap.

Limegrntaln says:

This is worthless, first it just says how many total customers. Second it doesn't say how many are on Verizon vs AT&T. Verizon has 2-3 million at best AT&T has 14 million iPhone customers. Huge difference.

chuck732 says:

Never had a drop call since I started with At&t 4 years ago. And yes I can talk and surf at the same time and no drop calls.

Phil says:

does anyone see a bias in this study? The Verizon iphone hasn't been released for 90 days yet

Mike says:

Thank you, I was trying go do that math as well. How does that work

Soey says:

Telus 4G http://www.speedtest.net/iphone/105164446.png
This is when you know that your getting your money's worth.

usmc says:

I have had my Verizon iPhone 4 for about a month and I haven't dropped a call yet and I have received all phone calls. Verizon iPhone is AWESOME, the best of both worlds. Best phone and on the best network. My battery life is not as good on my Verizon iPhone, I guess because it's ALWAYS connected, my AT&T iPhone wasn't connected to cellular service a lot of the day, due to lack of service. I live in the middle of a 3G city, by the way. I know have the "BEST OF BOTH WORLDS!!!"

Wimsy says:

Hmmm I havent had a drop call in 2 years here in the Bay Area. Some areas must be worse then others.

Manuel says:

Had an iPhone 4 with AT&T from Oct of last year to Jan of 2011. From Nov to Jan, I had nothing but drop calls, roughly around 12 to 13 in my area, leaving me stuck to text in my house and area. I live in Queens NYC, live by a AT&T store and around 8 towers. Explain that one to me?
My girl who was on my family plan got the same drop calls as well. AT&T gave me the round around saying to switch my iPhone, switch my girls phone, switch sims, get a mircocell. In the end, they stop believing me until I started taking pictures of each drop call I had. I ended up selling my phones, and going to Verizon and I never looked back.
I don't miss talk and surf because I never did it. Having the 3G on while on the phone and using data destroys my battery, making it pointless and since my data on the 3G was so horrible and slow, I couldn't even load pages any ways. When I wanted to talk and surf, I had to tell the person that I would call them back just to turn my 3g on. Same thing as me being on the Verizon iPhone.
My data has been 2 times faster then AT&T, I have no drop calls, and I can actually make calls with out getting call fails within 2 seconds or call fails to customer service.
AT&T in my opinion sucks for me and I would never tell someone to go to them. If it works for others, then that's cool, but AT&T is so much money and your not getting what you pay for. Verizon is around the same price, but at least I know things actually work then having to call a rude rep for a problem which they don't even know how to solve.

Piper says:

I've been with AT&T for close to 15 years. I've had an iPhone since the original iPhone. I've spent that entire time as a long haul truck drive traveling all of the US.
While I do occasionally run into place with bad or no service, I have to say well over 95% of the time I can just pick up the phone and dial. I would also say I almost never drop a call. Maybe 1 or 2 a month.
( Your experance may be different )

thefireguy286 says:

First off, CDMA networks will inherently have less dropped calls than GSM networks because CDMA has a proper tower handoff.
As for the iPhone differences, the SVDO argument was old to begin with and now it seems sad it's the only bickering point. If you use it great, it's certainly nice to have, but the fact remains the vast majority of people DO NOT care. This is already ending as 4G LTE rolls out and allows for it, and Verizon is now using CDMA-eHRPD which allows for SVDO over 3G as well.

iPhoneRN says:

Ok so I have had iPhones with att for several years now and I love the service. I live in central florida and experience very few dropped call. Most of the time it is when I call my parents. They live in a much more rural area than I do and the dropped call is not from my end. That being as it may if the call drops I call right back with no problem. I think the affordability of att over verizon is the important thing for me. Plus when me family chose att it was because no one else had the iPhone in the US. Say what you will dropped calls have been around since the cell phone was invented and I doubt we will ever see them eliminated 100%

Tom Rivers says:

In an independent study the verizon iPone did drop less calls (10%)If you were sitting still but the at&t iphone dropped calls less often while moving(10%) and the at&t version was 4 times faster using the internet

VAL says:

I SWITCH OVER TO AT&T 2 YEARS AGO FROM VERIZON ONLY TO GET THE IPHONE. My first 3 months were misrable, no good service and too many dropped calls. Come on AT&T IPHONE USERS be honest and realistic, i hace used 3 different iphones and is the same crap.
Going Back to verizon and get an ANDROID, Apple and their crappy iphone and AT&T's poor 3G NETWORK is just a bad combination and they keep backstabbing eachother by blaming each other for their many iphone users problems. By the way im still with AT&t and using my laptop cuz my iphone gets poor reception at my house and at my job. GOING WITH AN ANDROID PHONE N VERIZON. I can only recall using web during a call about 2 times in 2 years, POINTLESS so keep ur surfing the web at same time, oh by the way you can only do that when u have a good 3g signal, yeah good luck with that one, at least in my area is not likely to happened. GOING BACK TO VERIZON but not even considering the IPHONE anymore.
good luck!!!