Here’s a sign that the price wars in cellphone service may be fighting the right battle: Consumer Reports just ranked the four national carriers last in customer satisfaction.
Among the winners were names many shoppers don’t see regularly in advertising: Consumer Cellular, Ting, Credo Mobile, Republic Wireless and Page Plus Cellular.
“Exceptional scores for value helped propel these cellphone providers to the top for overall customer satisfaction,” Consumer Reports said in an announcement of its rankings. “These companies offer lower costs and responsive, knowledgeable staff members.”
The more familiar national brands brought up the rear in rankings: T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T and Sprint.
Consumer Reports said its rankings asked cellphone users about their overall satisfaction. It also gave favorable-to-unfavorable ratings for value and multiple categories of service and support.
Sprint, based in Overland Park, ranked last among both traditional users who are billed at the end of the month and prepaid customers who are billed in advance.
Consumer Reports said its surveys of 89,829 customers were in July and August. Sprint has touted its network’s performance more recently in launching a half-off rate deal for subscribers who switch from its three national rivals.
In June, Sprint chief executive Marcelo Claure touted the company’s No. 1 ranking in Kansas City by RootMetrics. The company has been winning more high rankings from RootMetrics this year.
In an email, Sprint acknowledged some shortcomings but said improving customer experience is a central part of the company changes underway with Claure.
“Creating an amazing customer experience is one of the key areas of focus for our turnaround strategy,” the statement said. “We’re making steady progress, but we are not satisfied with our results. We’re committed to delivering the best wireless experience and becoming the undisputed loyalty leader.”
Sprint’s Virgin Mobile brand, which uses Sprint’s network, fared better than its parent in both categories, though it is best known as a prepaid service provider.
Ting also uses the Sprint network but topped Sprint’s brands with the second best score at 88 among traditional subscribers.
At AT&T, Cricket similarly topped the rankings of the parent among prepaid subscribers. And the top score went to Consumer Cellular at 89, though its customers are using AT&T’s network.
Consumer Reports noted that this is the first time that T-Mobile topped all three of its rivals: Verizon, AT&T and Sprint.