AT&T still No. 1 on dropped calls, but iPhone owners seem satisifed

ChangeWave survey shows that the AT&T iPhone 4 drops twice as many calls as the Verizon model, but customers of both carriers are about equally satisfied overall.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read

The AT&T iPhone 4 drops more calls than Verizon's model, yet customers of both carriers seem about equally satisifed, according to a ChangeWave Research study released yesterday.

Questioning a total of 4,068 mobile phone users in a survey completed March 28, ChangeWave found that 82 percent of the Verizon Wireless iPhone 4 owners polled and 80 percent of those using AT&T's iPhone 4 said they were very satisified overall. The Verizon iPhone has been on the market since February, when it ended AT&T's long run of exclusivity for the Apple gadget.

But aside from the neck-and-neck satisfaction levels, Verizon holds in the upper hand in other key ways.

ChangeWave Research

Among iPhone 4 users, Verizon scored the fewest dropped calls, with those surveyed reporting on average only 1.8 percent of all calls dropped over the past 90 days. That compared with AT&T iPhone 4 owners who said that on average 4.8 percent of all their calls were dropped over the same period.

The survey, which also looked at T-Mobile and Sprint, found that Verizon led the pack overall in the lowest number of dropped calls across the industry. Verizon mobile phone customers in general reported that on average only 1.4 percent of their calls dropped over the past 90 days. T-Mobile took second place with 2.3 percent dropped calls, followed by Sprint with 2.7 percent.

That again left AT&T to bring up the rear, with its mobile phone subscribers pointing to a average of 4.6 percent of all calls dropped over the past 90 days.

ChangeWave Research

Dropped calls have plagued AT&T and its customers for a number of years, contributing to the carrier's often poor grades for customer satisfaction. In response, the company has made some effort in recent years to strengthen the performance and reliability of its network.

In a survey from December, ChangeWave discovered that AT&T had improved its level of dropped calls from a high of 6 percent last September. The current survey, which included 1,264 AT&T customers, found that the dropped call rate had improved further, albeit by only a tenth of a percentage point.

At the same time, the number of dropped calls among the 1,283 Verizon customers included in the survey has shrunk to its lowest level ever seen by ChangeWave.

Verizon also outscored AT&T with future iPhone owners. Among those who plan to buy an iPhone 4 down the road, 46 percent said they'll go with Verizon, while only 27 percent are eyeing AT&T.