Nov 29th, 2012

Some things never change, and for AT&T that’s not a good thing. For what seems like the hundredth year in a rowConsumer Reports has placed the carrier at the bottom of the pack when it comes to overall customer satisfaction. Verizon, a company that typically places at or near the top of the magazine’s yearly rankings, bested the competition.

Interestingly, however, AT&T’s 4G LTE offering was ranked higher than Verizon’s, despite the former’s smaller network footprint. But it wasn’t enough to pull AT&T up from the bottom, as taking all voice and data offerings into account consumers just haven’t been all that satisfied with what the carrier is providing.

An emerging trend is consumer interest in smaller carriers such as Straight Talk and Virgin Mobile, which provide pre-paid options that can save consumers a good chunk of change each month. Devices available with these networks are starting to match the appeal of those available from the major four US service providers. Paul Reynolds of Consumer Reports points out that customers can often save even more money by pairing an out-of-contract device from a major carrier to a more affordable pre-paid plan.

The shift in attitudes about smartphone plans comes at a time when major carriers continue to lag behind consumer demand. The stronghold of carriers like Verizon and AT&T on the US mobile market will loosen as consumers search for better deals on monthly service.

It’s been said a million times, but the big carriers need to adapt to what customers demand now rather than attempt to mandate the way the market will run. There’s your free advice, AT&T. Mix that up with a bit of quality customer service and maybe we won’t have to see you at the bottom of Consumer Report’s list next year.

[via AllThingsD]

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