In a just-released study, the company said that in March it interviewed more than 4,000 consumers on attitudes toward the wireless industry. One of the questions was, “If the Apple iPhone became available on your current cellular service provider, how likely is it that you would buy one for yourself or someone in the future?” Almost half of Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile customers surveyed said they would be “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to buy an iPhone if it became available from their current carrier. ChangeWave acknowledges that those numbers might be even higher had the poll been taken in April, when talk of a Verizon iPhone showed renewed vigor.
The survey also asked consumers for general satisfaction of their carrier. Verizon was tops, with 49 percent of that company’s customers saying they are “very satisfied” with their cellular service. Sprint was second with 35 percent, and AT&T and T-Mobile were a distant third at 23 percent. One of the biggest reasons for AT&T’s low rating might be the fact that it ranked last in terms of dropped calls. AT&T customers reported 4.5 percent of their calls being dropped in the past month, while the others reported between 1.5 and 2.8 percent. Verizon’s dropped-call rating was its best since ChangeWave has been conducting this survey; AT&T’s was its worst.
In terms of customer loyalty, when asked how likely a respondent would be to change wireless service providers in the next three months, only 8 percent said they would switch. Despite the statistics outlined above, AT&T actually ranked second-lowest in the number of customers who planned to switch. Verizon was best, with only 7 percent saying they would switch; AT&T, 8 percent; Sprint, 10 percent; and T-Mobile, 14 percent.
Editor's Note: After our story appeared online, AT&T e-mailed us with a response to ChangeWave's statistics about dropped calls:
The opinions compiled in this survey are dramatically at odds with actual quantitative results derived from millions of calls made during extensive drive-testing of the AT&T mobile broadband network by a highly respected outside firm.
Those results, from GWS, show that, on a national basis, AT&T is within just two-tenths of a percent of the industry leader in wireless call retainability. That's a difference of just two calls in a thousand, a virtual dead-heat.
In fact, the statistically valid drive test shows the AT&T network continues to deliver the nation's fastest 3G network and near best-in-class call retainability nationwide. AT&T's network dropped only 1.44 percent of calls nationwide, within two-tenths of 1 percent of the industry leader and a difference of less than two calls out of 1,000.