AT&T ranked worst carrier in the US by Consumer Reports

In a recent survey by Consumer Reports, AT&T ranked the worst in a whopping 8 out of 9 categories. The survey took into account the top four carriers - Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile. it also looked at a few of the bigger regional carriers as well. Verizon came in at number one out of the four nationwide carriers. It only fell 2nd next to US Cellular.

The survey also ranked smartphones satisfaction. As far as AT&T smartphones went, the iPhone 4 tied the Samsung Captivate as far as customer satisfaction went. I personally wrote a comparison of the iPhone 4 and the Captivate. I thought the Captivate left a lot to be desired as far as UI and ease of use went, but it was certainly one of AT&T's more capable smartphones.

When it comes to overall satisfaction, AT&T had this to say -

We take this seriously and we continually look for new ways to improve the customer experience. The fact is wireless customers have choices and a record number of them chose AT&T in the third quarter, significantly more than our competitors. Hard data from independent drive tests confirms AT&T has the nation’s fastest mobile broadband network with our nearest competitor 20 percent slower on average nationwide and our largest competitor 60 percent slower on average nationwide. And, our dropped call rate is within 1/10 of a percent – the equivalent of just one call in a thousand – of the industry leader.

If AT&T really has the coverage they claim to have, why are customers still so dissatisfied?

(http://www.bgr.com/2010/12/06/att-is-the-worst-carrier-in-the-u-s-according-to-consumer-reports/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheBoyGeniusReport+%28BGR+|+Boy+Genius+Report%29)

Footnote: 
[via BoyGeniusReport]

Allyson Kazmucha

Help and how to editor for iMore. I can take apart an iPhone in less than 6 minutes. I also like coffee and Harry Potter more than anyone really should.

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AT&T ranked worst carrier in the US by Consumer Reports

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These "Surveys" do not account for ALL AT&T customers...I've had a iPhone for years and I'm 100% satisfied with my service.

Me too. I think they interview people who live in the Shendandoah Valley where there is no 3G and barely any signal. I used to live there.

AT&T saying consumers have choices, and a record number of them choose AT&T in the third quarter. That is kind of misleading. If you want, or have an iPhone, you have no choice but AT&T. I think they should be mire concerned with the survey instead of trying to defend the issue. If other carriers had the iPhone, AT&T would loose a very large customer base.

Cam I like to think I'm a loyal customer but 100%. Come on!!! Do you even call anyone? I am in the NYC area where there is no better coverage but regretfully it still can't compare to verizon's coverage.

I finally bought one of those AT&T Micro-Cell's for my apt here in Houston. I was getting about 1 - 2 bars, but the calls would constantly drop, and I work from home sometimes and need good service. I love my iPhone, but miss the reliability T-Mobile gave me in my area. Is it the iPhone hardware or AT&T causing so many dropped calls? I guess we'll find out when Verizon picks up the iPhone...

I have to agree with you guys....I have been with AT&T since it was pac-bell and have been pretty happy. I do have more dropped calls on my Iphone 4 then any other phone Ive had with them. Im thinking its part Apples fault and part AT&T's fault. Once Verizon gets the Iphone, I think the AT&T's network will be better.

AT&T has good signal for the most part, but their 3G coverage just absolutely sucks compared to Verizon. It's embarrassing, and you'd think they'd be working hard to fix it.

i'd be interested in knowing which paid off "survey" base they got to conduct this survey, happy ATT customer for 4 + years right here <<<

I've worked for Sprint. I've had Verizon and T-Mobile. You'd be hard pressed to find anyone who has owned more phones than I have. Personally, I love the service I get with AT&T and with my iPhone.
Yesterday, I drove 16 hours from Austin, TX to Tampa, FL and dropped ZERO calls. Granted, I wasn't on calls the entire time, but I did watch the entire Cowboys game on NFL Sunday Ticket app. Never missed a play. That's damn good service IMO.

Consumer Reports does not accept advertising and were not "paid off". AT&T may be good where you live but in NY it sucks and in many other places.

Honestly I see no difference between ATT and Verizon here in Houston. I have been using ATT for almost 9 years and at the time I switched from Verizon because of their drop call issue. No problems until the hurricanes hit Houston and alas there went the good quality calls I enjoyed with ATT. Outside Houston in my experience ATT works really good. Even when in NYC to my surprise I get calls in elevators and underground parking (or did I just get lucky?). And they don't drop! Also, their international service is way better than Verizon's (so far...) but at $2/minute when all fees are included it better be good. Now if ATT could have the Global Email only service for their international phones as Verizon instead of just the International Data Roaming option...

I've switched to AT&T purely for the iPhone. At first the service didn't bother me but recently I've experienced more problems/dropped calls with AT&T than I ever did with Verizon. If the Verizon iPhone ever does become a reality I'm going right back to my older carrier with the most outstanding service ever. Dropped call, failed calls, in/out calls, you name it I've experienced it with AT&T. Yes, they are by far the worst cell phone service around.

I've had AT&T since they were BellSouth Mobility and then Cingular...13 years or so? Never had any problems whatsoever. Only time I had coverage issues was right after hurricane Katrina, but everyone had problems after the towers generator power went down...

We can't look at Verizon getting the iPhone as if it will in any way help AT&T's network!! How is that gonna make 3G show up in all the places where there is none? I live in a town where there is no 3G service. I can name cities with Colleges AND At&t stores and they have no 3G service. The City with the largest zoo in NC has no 3G service. AT&T's 3G map is just as SICK LOOKING as Verizon always said it was! Just because they cover most of the country with EDGE (the 1980's) doesn't mean that they offer 3G service to the country. It means that they cover major cities. Meanwhile towns smaller than my own, towns so small that they don't have a traffic light or a grocery store, have full 3G Verizon coverage! How funny is that?! What good is the fastest mobile network when customers can't even use it? I will most definitely be going to Verizon as soon as the iPhone or a Windows Phone 7 touchscreen drops with a front facing camera! Do you think that I'm the only one? MILLIONS of people have come to AT&T because its the only company offering the iPhone in the U.S. Most people don't know how to Unlock and a great deal just don't want to bother with it. Now add Verizon to the mix with their FAR SUPERIOR network (please don't tell me that depends on where I am! I'm talking about AMERICA!) and AT&T is gonna be looking for a hero! Actually I've already seen articles saying that the search was already started. When their total number of subscribers/customers is just as WEAK as their service then I'll have a huge grin on my face! Believe it!

Anyone who has had to travel across the US can attest to the poor service at times. Of course if you live in a major metropolitan area it is normally fine..but travel where you are constantly switching from 3G to Edge and back or from 5 bars to no bars. There have been many times that you can be driving on a major interstate and lose signal completely. It's uncalled for, especially when your fellow people with Verizon or Sprint seem to always have signal.

I live in Philly and work in New Jersey. AT&T is really bad in NJ, but works very well on the PA side of the river. I know many people in NJ who don't have an iPhone because there is little to no AT&T coverage.
Also, as good as the coverage is in PA, I get very little signal IN my condo due to the structure of the building, but friends with Verizon (which uses a more building penetrating signal) get full bars.

Wasn't everyone here just bashin consumer reports a couple months ago because of the antena thing, and now they're awesome????

People dont like AT&T, what's new? I agree that the 3G coverage issue is ridiculous. When I drive around the country, outside of major/medium size cities, my Sprint phone always has 3G or it's roaming on Verizon 3G. Im even talking about west bubblef*ck middle of nowhere. My work AT&T blackberry spends most of it's time on Edge. Seriously AT&T, at least blanket the major highways. The ability to have a constant 3G wifi hotspot in the car for family when we are on the road is why we will never be on AT&T.

I've had AT&T for a long time, and I've had no big issues. Signal drops in my experience, depended mostly on the handset I had. Since I started using iPhones (3G, 3GS and now 4) I haven't had a problem there either.

A lot of people go to AT&T just for the iPhone, even if its not the best carrier for their area, and then complain bitterly about the service when it doesn't work out. Go figure. I had maybe 2 dropped calls with my 3gs and have had no dropped calls with the 4.

Enfield ct last year 3GS was getting a dropped call here in there now I've had the 4 since launch in June I CAN HONESTLY SAY I DON'T REMEMBER THE LAST DROPPED CALL SERVICE HAS BEEN Perfect. Verizon's good in my area, t mobile blows hard ass. Sorry

AT&T in New York and Las Vegas is an absolute Joke!
Forget dropped calls, and weak signals. I am talking about NO SERVICE in Midtown Manhattan, in the middle of the street!
Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, all AT&T customers were using payphones! No joke! 2 years in a row, same story. Iphones were actually the worst! You could not make a call. Blackberries performed much better in comparison. AT&T credited me 2 years in a row for the crappy signal in Las Vegas when I was at the show.

I travel and have had AT&T wireless since 2004 and I have enjoyed every moment. I have had great customer service from the first day and coverage has always been 100% with barely any dropped calls. Too good to be true? I am glad that is the case for me :-)

In most area, a&tt still the best, or at least second best. I am using at&t for 8 years, never had drop calls even once. Sometimes lose my 3g data, only E or 2g, but still good enough for me.

@rebo us cellular is a regional carrier (CDMA). They're pretty big in the Chicagoland area. Not too sure how far they extend and what-not, but I have friends that have them and they've been happy.

I feel bad for people who have problems with AT&T, I've had no real problems. But remember people, you don't have to go to AT&T, so all those that are "dissatisfied" should leave. You may be in a contract, but you don't have a gun to your head.

My service with AT&T is just fine. Yes their 3G coverage could use ALOT of work but I use wifi most of the time and the edge here is pretty fast. I really could care less if people thinks it's that bad, they're fine for me and that's all that matters. And yes I have an iPhone lol which I ditched for android but found out it wasn't as great as all the hardcore android fans make it sound so I went back to iPhone.

I had Sprint few years ago and we switched to AT&T for the iPhone. I have been very pleased with the coverage and data speeds. I have literally had just a hand full of dropped calls with AT&T. I have better signal than when I had sprint. I'm in Dallas Fort Worth area...

People who are dissatisfied are uninformed people who do not do research and they blame ATT for everything. They give bad marks if they don't get their way. I've had ATT for years and have never had any problem. And ditto, I have a iPhone 3Gs and 4. Remember, the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence.

The top three are all CDMA and the bottom two are GSM? Whatevar. No news here, folks, just the same old carrier perception spin game. Might as well be talking about sports teams.

I live in the East bay and have great coverage. I use my iphone 4 as my main phone and since the launch I have dropped two calls and can't for sure say if they were my fault. The customer service is great. I have never had a bad experience with one. They are pleasant and very helpful.

I am very pleased with my AT&T service. I have had them for over 3 years and I have no major complaints. T-Mobile is the worst as far as coverage goes, in my opinion. Sprint took over Nextel and they are both known for shoddy service. Verizon would be my next choice after AT&T but I think their customer service is lacking. I have known Verizon owners who made mistakes in their plans and Verizon says "too bad" whereas AT&T immediately credited my account when I went over my text messages and decided to upgrade my package.

I switched to AT&T 2 months ago from T-Mobile. I have dropped a call only once and that was the other person's fault on the other end. In my place I get full bars, while with T-Mobile I was getting 2 bars and EDGE. Overall I can't complaint about AT&T and their staff at store is very helpful.

@George99
I live and work in NYC. I am not sure where you are talking about in midtown but I have never seen any place on either the east or west side of midtown that has "no service.". i also work downtown and have had no issues with coverage.
That being said, ther is most certainly a problem with dropped calls, especially along the FDR.

What people don't realize about 3G is that CDMA networks (verizon, sprint) are able to role out software updates to convert from edge to 3G. AT&T had to build new towers to role out 3G and give us simultaneous voice and data. With how much they charge should it be more widespread? Yes. (It seemed to take forever to get to Green Bay.) I also think all carriers (not just at&t) should not charge extra for tethering on data plans (especially limited plans). If AT&T's network will get better by verizon getting the iPhone it will be in reduced data congestion. What does bother me about AT&T is that they advertise the 3G+ speeds over the air but then their backend connection doesn't support it so the bottleneck is actually below regular 3G speeds. AT&T needs to take some of those profits and invest it into rapid, aggressive expansion of their data network.
I use to have sprint and they used to give loyal customers exclusive plans for staying with them. AT&T doesn't do that, and there are huge gaps in their plans and pricing. (I.e. Texting plans jump from 200 to 1500, or the fact that sprint can offer unlimited almost everything for $70/month).
Maybe 4G will level the playing field as everyone will have to build new towers and speed up the backend data pipeline.

I was a loyal Sprint customer for 5 years. When I decided to leave, all they offered me was a lousy free clam shell phone. When I refused that, I was hit with a hefty ETF.
The main reason why I left Sprint was coverage. At first glance, it appears Sprint has more coverage than AT&T, but that's where the map lies. Most of Sprint's coverage in my state is roaming.....that translates to extra fees.
And CR blow donkey balls. They don't know their elbows from their azzholes when it comes to electronics. All CR is good for is reviewing a can of peas.

@Wayne (2nd post) I live in the Shenandoah Valley...we now have 3G service. For a couple years now. They still suck. Horrible customer service that never does what the reps promise. They are a whole bunch of liars.

I can attest to the strange drop in signal and data in Manhattan. Especially midtown. I will actually get the 3G symbol and full bars but when it comes time to make a call or send an email it just does absolutely nothing. It will get stuck sending or recieving mail or the call i make will never start. It's like everything is backed up and delayed. Twitter and Facebook updates hang also. Once I'm in other areas I'm fine.

I am an iPhone owner have been since iPhone 3G and I am completely satisfied with my AT&T service so consumer reports needs to stop with their bashing of apple and AT&T their just showing me they aren't for anything but hating what's popular.

CDMA has and always will offer a wider spectrum of coverage. The CDMA signal can be collated and phones can share towers while on a call. GSM hands calls off and the iPhone has a tendency to drop calls when that happens. A CDMA tower can broadcast a signal upto 25 miles and strength at the 25th mile is almost as strong as it is at the tower. Now GSM is good for 5-7 miles at best and the signal drops to almost nothing the further out the range is. But CDMA is dead for upgrading and it's the ancient TDMA network upgraded to death and Has nothing else to give. Verizons network is 99% 3G. And they were forced to upgrade because their old network couldn't carry data at all. They also upgraded their network to 3G from 2003 completing it in 2007. Not how many data sucking smart phones were on their network during that time? ZERO. AT&T upgrades and rolls out 3G with 14 million iPhones. More iPhones than all other countries combined. 12% of AT&Ts customer base is iPhones, accounting for 72% of the 20 petabytes of wireless data AT&T carries on it's network daily. For the people that have edge. The average upgrade time for a tower to be upgraded from EDGE to 3G is 540 days. 95% of that time is filing with the FCC and useless groups of people that don't want a tree cut down to put up a tower. Verizon bought Alltel in 2008 and they have Alltel to thank for their network. Verizon was forced to sell some of the lower spectrum band off to AT&T for $2.5 billion. FCC rules state no carrier can own both upper and lower bands in the same geographical location. Verizon customers thank Alltel for tanking. Anyone who disagrees look at their voice coverage map. They carried no data back then
http://www.pinzoo.com/store/products/alltel/alltel-coverage-map.jpg
I've had all 4 iPhones and an iPad and I rarely drop a call. I live east of San Francisco and my data download is in the low 5MB and upload is 1.2-1.3.

I love my Att service. Does my phone work everywhere no do I need it to work everywhere no. The next work is so fast and I don't drop anymore call on att thanbi dis on verizon.

Intersting people defending AT&T, this survey is funny : ) I've seen others opposite of this crap.

Well if you don't live in a major city in Kansas then you're pretty much screwed on 3G, I'm always on edge and the fact that there's no 3G in Dodge City, one of the most famous cities in Kansas is kind of pathetic for AT&T. Oh well still love my iPhone, just hate AT&T Service at the moment.

My service is flawless in my home town (Jacksonville, FL) and in most towns I frequent which is mostly here in Florida. I used to get a lot of dropped calls on my iPhone 3G but that went away the day I got the iPhone 4. But I went to NYC and service was none existent (with my iP3G). I was very lucky if I could even start a call let alone hold a call. I think my record was probably 3mins. Forget Data, I had no data at all the whole time I was there. Turning of 3G didn't help either. Then last week I was in Las Vegas and 3G was a dead end. The only way to get data or place a call was with 3G turned off. That is ridiculous. So I totally understand why some rate ATT so bad. I had sprint before and had good service everywhere I went. I don't travel much so this isn't a big problem for me. It is worth it just to have the iPhone.

AT&T needs more android options and needs to quit bending over in front of Apple. I love the iPhone but to be honest the phones interface has not really changed at all since the day it was launched. Get some flagship android phones like everyone else. Increase your 3G coverage areas because the Edge is just unusable.

Thats great that AT&T sold a crap load of iPhones but does not seem that their network can support the data usage even with their new retarded new data plan. I was in Orlando Florida at the resort parks and could not even use the 3G as it would take forever to get anything to work.

@bjj - not possible! Blogs told me otherwise! Nobody on AT&T in San Francisco can ever make a phone call! ;-)
I also find this CR survey to be rather suspect. The media has a huge hard on for the iPhone going to Verizon soon. Stockholders are drooling over it. Financial analysts love big Red.

ATT Sucks,
It sucks it sucks it sucks. Coverage my ass.. So many dropped calls a week I lose count... and that is WITH the stupid case on the phone.
I switched from Verizon to ATT FOR the iPhone. I love my phone, I hate my service. So long as Verizon doesn't cripple the hell out of the iPhone when (if) it is released on their network, I'm definitely buying out of my ATT contract and taking myself back to Verizon.

Oh and I'm pretty sure the biggest reason they have a higher sign up rate than the other carriers is DUE TO the iPHONE!
I dont know where that 1/10% Dropped call rate comes from... but here in South Florida its significantly higher.

to answer the last question.. the problem is a public perception issue... and the way consumer reports gets their ratings. They only use their own subscribers.. which could be skewed.

I have AT&T and an iPhone 3GS. The coverage is sketchy the data speeds vary wildy. I work in IT so my phone needs to work and it needs to work all the time not most of the time. Hell, I had to add an hour to an already long day (13 hours) because AT&T couldn't put a call through to me from one of our on-call people and then I received a voicemail 15 minutes after the call. Unacceptable....

I can confirm that AT&T SUCKS in the West Los Angeles area, which is a highly populated and affluent area where there are a lot of iPhones.
There is a stretch of Wilshire Boulevard, west and just before hitting Century City and Beverly Hills, where you will always be dropped. ALWAYS. Another on Century Park West in the heart of the financial district. You literally tell whoever you are talking to, "sorry but can I call you back in a minute? I am about to get AT&T'd and will have to call you back".
So sick of ATT. We are trying to convince our IT department to drop ATT for all of us and go Verizon.

I have been with AT&T since the first iphone in 2007 I now have the iphone 4. I've never really had a problem with AT&T. UNTIL I move into my new apartment in Hampton VA. I periodically have a bar or in goes into search mode then no service. I've call AT&T about this problem and the solution was for me to go outside on my balcony to get 2 bar if that...so I'll be one of them consumer going to verzion. If it wasn't for my wifi at home i swear i would have already switch. I need service to text AT&T.

Ooh yeah and my friends already know when i say im almost home that means drop call.....sometimes i have 5 bars then all of a sudden none plus a drop call, unacceptable AT&T, glad verzion is getting iphone. cause now AT&T will realize its the iphone y they keep getting new consumers not the network...

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