AT&T Flaship Chicago Store

Although AT&T was the first U.S. carrier that sold the iPhone when Apple introduced the smartphone in 2007, Verizon Wireless quickly overshadowed the telecom giant. For the first time, AT&T has stolen the spotlight back, outranking rival Verizon in customer service satisfaction.

No, hell did not freeze over. And, yes, this is the AT&T that late last year was voted having the worst voice and data service, had all the tethering issues and is constantly sniping with about everyone…

Still, the carrier scored the highest of the last three previous J.D. Power’s customer service surveys, according to new data. The research firm found AT&T scored 795 out of a possible 1,000. Verizon, which used to be the customer satisfaction champion, slipped to No. 2 with 790 points.

Both Sprint and T-Mobile ranked below 786 average for contract carriers.

After weeks of declaring itself better than Verizon for speed and reliability, AT&T Thursday touted its efforts to boost the wireless experience.

Along with scoring high for its retail service, “AT&T also scored the highest in the industry for its online experience, which had the biggest improvement over hte past six months,” the carrier wrote in a media release.


AT&T pointed to its 24/7 online service, the ability to schedule store appointments online, as well as increasing the number of AT&T chat representatives. That last item seems to be increasingly important when it comes to determining carrier customer satisfaction.

“J.D. Power found that customers are increasingly contacting their carriers online, versus over the phone or in the store, when they have a service issue,” GigaOM noted.

That point was driven home recently when I had to endure multiple sales pitches while picking up an iPhone at the local  Verizon store.

Here’s a video AT&T put together to promote its new store design and customer experience.

Of course, this ranking by AT&T is unlikely to last.

Then again, we may be seeing a turning point where a carrier’s retail location – and all the effort poured into sumptuous surroundings – are less important to customers. So much of brick-and-mortar retail now is to showcase products, not sell them.

Isn’t it time smartphone carriers of all people understood that, as well?

  • pauleebe

    My customer service experience has improved, and their cellular speeds are the fastest of any carrier in my market (Boston).

    Just wish the prices were more fair, hopefully low cost competition helps this.

  • Fanboyofapple

    I work for em and we had a meeting with some of the big wigs a few weeks ago. One of em said how they were basically modeling the retail stores after Apple. Sounds about right I guess and it’s working. I did speak up n tell em that I have 5 bars of LTE Verizon service and Verizon HomeFusion broadband because the AT&T cell service sucks where I live and the (fiber optic fed) crossbox I work out of is capped for bandwidth so I can’t get DSL. As of next week they are supposed to be working a job to pipe in a DS3 into the box and at least get me DSL. Me very happy. Maybe they are opening their ears and starting to listen, idk.

  • Kevin Guzman

    I deal with AT&T on a daily basis, and let me just say, the AT&T representatives are very helpful and informative when over the phone. Where Verizon thrives is their response time – I’m almost never on hold when I call Verizon.

    • Eric Dunn

      Key for verizon is press 0, then 0, then 0. It will get you to a rep right away. About a 5 second pause in-between each 0.

  • Albert

    i never had an issue with AT&T. They have been good to me.

  • Eric

    From what I understand, “JD Power” is biased as they rely on contributions by the companies they “review” –

    So, maybe that is why Santa Clause and the Tooth Fairy are rejoicing…

    And, please lets not forget our friend the Easter Bunny!

  • Keith Smith

    I’m not sure who took these surveys but AT&T sucks here in VA…Customer service, calls and price are outrageous I would rather suffer with prepaid before getting locked into AT&T.