Verizon Wireless most reliable carrier, says J.D. Power

Verizon Wireless once again scores the top spot as the most reliable wireless carrier throughout much of the U.S., according to a new survey from J.D. Power.

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

Verizon Wireless is once again the most reliable carrier throughout the U.S., according to a study out yesterday from J.D. Power and Associates.

Based on a customer survey, J.D. Power's "U.S. 2011 Wireless Network Quality Performance Study--Volume 2" ranked Verizon as the top carrier in the Northeast for the 14th time in a row. Compared with other carriers, Verizon saw the least number of customers complaining of dropped calls, transmission failures, initial connection issues, and delayed text messages.

J.D. Power and Associates

Beyond the Northeast, Verizon grabbed the lead in the Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Southwest, and Western regions of the U.S.

In the North Central region, though, U.S. Cellular took the top spot for the 12th consecutive time, with fewer customers reporting such problems as dropped calls, audio problems, lost calls, and failed voice mails.

Looking at the nation's other leading carriers, AT&T was at or close to the bottom of the reliability list throughout much of the U.S., except in the Mid-Atlantic and Southwest regions, where it took second place behind Verizon.

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Sprint Nextel was the second leading carrier in the Northeast but didn't fare as well throughout the rest of the country. And T-Mobile, which is anxiously waiting to get scooped up by AT&T, took the second spot behind Verizon in the Southeast and West but was closer to the bottom in most other regions in the U.S.

Compared with other wireless carriers, Verizon has consistently taken the lead in performance, reliability, and customer care in past J.D. Power studies.

To gauge the reliability of wireless carriers, J.D. Power looked at a variety of issues, including dropped calls, calls not connected, audio problems, failed or late voice mails, lost calls, text message failures, late text message notifications, Web connection errors; e-mail connection errors, and slow downloads.

On average, the survey found that smartphone customers bump into more problems than do owners of traditional cell phones, perhaps proving a type of "Murphy's Law" dictum that the more complex the gadget the more that things can do wrong. Across the top 30 U.S. markets, problems were fewest among customers in the Salt Lake City area and highest among those in Sacramento.

J.D. Power based its latest results on feedback from 22,110 wireless customers collected between January and June of 2011.