**Editor's Note: Shared-data plans were highly controversial before their debut with Verizon Wireless last year. Click here for the war of words that preceded the establishment of these plans.**
It looks like Verizon and AT&T were right. Not only are shared-data plans helping the carriers increase revenue, customers seem to like them.
That's J.D. Power and Associates' determination from the marketing information services company's latest report, which says satisfaction with a wireless carrier's customer care is higher among those who subscribe to a shared-data plan. The semiannual report looks at how wireless companies provide customer service via telephone, retail walk-in and online.
"The higher levels of satisfaction with shared data plans are partially due to the profile of its customers, particularly the early adopters who changed service offerings once the mobile data share plans were offered," said Kirk Parsons, senior director of wireless services at J.D. Power and Associates. "For example, not only are customers with shared data plans more loyal than those without a shared data plan, but they also have a more positive perception of their carrier, in addition to spending approximately $30 more per household overall."
Verizon Wireless topped the J.D. Power rankings for the fourth consecutive year, nabbing a score of 766 (out of 1,000). AT&T wasn't far behind at 759. Sprint fell a little below the average score of 755, with a 746. And T-Mobile suffered with only 715 points.
If you consider only those customers on shared-data plans, the average score was 778, compared to only 750 for those on traditional plans.
Non-contract providers all landed below the industry average, but among those prepaid services, MetroPCS was tops with 733 points, followed closely by Virgin Mobile, in second, with 729.
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