Sorry, Mr. Legere: Yet another study finds Verizon is thumping your network

Verizon Vs. AT&T Vs. T-Mobile

T-Mobile has done a lot of terrific things ever since John Legere took over as CEO. The company’s early upgrade plans have set new standards in the wireless industry and have been a major boon for users who love having the latest and greatest gadgets. T-Mobile’s program to pay off new customers’ early termination fees is going a long way toward freeing customers from the burdens that come with switching carriers. However, there is simply no denying that the “Uncarrier’s” network still needs more work if it’s going to match the quality of Verizon and AT&T.

Legere and T-Mobile bristled earlier this week when a new RootMetrics study ranked T-Mobile’s network last in several major categories such as reliability, call quality and SMS performance. However, J.D. Power on Thursday came out with a study that similarly showed Verizon and to a lesser extent AT&T besting T-Mobile in terms of network quality in all regions of the United States. The good news for T-Mobile is that it didn’t place last in most regions: That dishonor went to Sprint, which had the most reported network connection problems in the Northeast, the Southeast, the North Central Region and the West Coast.

Even so, J.D. Power’s survey consistently ranked T-Mobile’s network behind both Verizon and AT&T, just like RootMetrics did. Verizon in particular performed exceptionally well in J.D. Power’s survey by finishing in first place in all six regions of the U.S. and by being the only carrier to score a perfect 5 out of 5 in all regions.

Legere swears that T-Mobile has closed the gap ever since these tests were conducted last year so we’ll have to wait and see whether the Uncarrier’s claims of an improving network are legitimate.

J.D. Power’s full press release follows below.

J.D. Power Reports: Wireless Network Data Quality Performance Has Improved Considerably as 4G Service Coverage Becomes More Universal

Verizon Wireless Ranks Highest in Wireless Network Quality Performance in All Six Regions

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif., March 6, 2014 /PRNewswire/ – The incidence of wireless network problems with data quality has declined, driven primarily by network upgrades and increased network capacity through an expansion of 4G service coverage, according to the J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Wireless Network Quality Performance StudySM—Volume 1 released today.

KEY FINDINGS

  • Overall wireless network quality problem incidence is 12 problems per 100 (PP100) network connections. The overall incidence rate has been consistent since 2012.
  • Data quality has been the primary driver of the improvement in wireless network quality during the past three years. Total data quality problems have declined to 14 PP100 in 2014 from 19 PP100 in 2012.
  • Both data speed and connectivity improve this year. Issues related to slow mobile Web experiences have declined to 17 PP100 in 2014 from 21 PP100 in 2012, which is largely attributed to broader rollouts of 4G networks. Similarly, issues with email connections have declined to 5 PP100 from 7 PP100 during the same time frame.
  • Customers with 4G smartphones experience 3 PP100 fewer problems with data-related issues than those with smartphones operating on previous generation technology (3G). Customers using 4G smartphones experience 6 PP100 fewer problems with slow mobile Web, compared with 3G customers.
  • This increasingly positive experience with their network is translating into increased engagement for wireless customers. For example, 25 percent of customers using 4G smartphones say they “strongly agree” that they are committed to their carrier, compared with 20 percent of those using 3G smartphones who say the same.
  • Customers using faster, more efficient 4G networks are 14 percent more likely to recommend their wireless carrier than those using networks that have not yet been upgraded.

“While the performance of network data quality has improved, given the robust upgrade to 4G technology across the country, there is still performance disparity across user segments and type of devices,” said Kirk Parsons, senior director of wireless services at J.D. Power. “Based on the varying degree of consistency with overall network performance, it’s critical that wireless carriers continue to invest in improving both the call quality and especially the data connection-related issues that customers continue to experience as 4G service becomes even more prevalent.”

Now in its 12th year, the semiannual study evaluates wireless customers’ most recent usage activities in three areas that impact network performance: calling, messaging and data. Overall network performance is based on 10 problem areas that impact the customer experience: dropped calls; calls not connected; audio issues; failed/late voicemails; lost calls; text transmission failures; late text message notifications; Web connection errors; slow downloads; and email connection errors. Network performance issues are measured as problems per 100 (PP100) network connections, with a lower score reflecting fewer problems and better network performance. Carrier performance is examined in six geographic regions: Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, North Central, Southwest and West.

The 2014 U.S. Wireless Network Quality Performance Study—Volume 1 is based on responses from 25,142 wireless customers. The study was fielded between July and December 2013.

Wireless Network Quality PP100 Rankings                J.D. Power.com Power Circle Ratings
(Based on Problems Per 100 Network Connections)       For Consumers
Northeast Region 
Verizon Wireless 10 5
AT&T 13 3
Northeast Average 13 3
T-Mobile 15 2
Sprint Nextel 18 2
Included in the Northeast Region are Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont.
Mid-Atlantic Region
Verizon Wireless 9 5
AT&T 11 3
Mid-Atlantic Average 11 3
Sprint Nextel 14 2
T-Mobile 15 2
Included in the Mid-Atlantic Region are Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.
Southeast Region 
Verizon Wireless 10 5
AT&T 13 3
Southeast Average 13 3
T-Mobile 15 2
Sprint Nextel 19 2
Included in the Southeast Region are Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.
North Central Region
Verizon Wireless 8 5
North Central Average 11 3
AT&T 12 3
T-Mobile 15 2
Sprint Nextel 16 2
Included in the North Central Region are Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.
Southwest Region 
Verizon Wireless 10 5
AT&T 12 4
Southwest Average 13 3
Sprint Nextel 15 2
T-Mobile 15 2
Included in the Southwest Region are Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas.
West Region
Verizon Wireless 10 5
West Average 13 3
AT&T 14 3
T-Mobile 14 3
Sprint Nextel 17 2
Included in the West Region are Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

Power Circle Ratings Legend
5 – Among the best
4 – Better than most
3 – About average
2 – The rest

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