Dec 07 AT 5:06 PM Anthony Domanico 106 Comments

AT&T rated lowest in customer satisfaction for 2nd year in a row


It doesn’t seem to be a good time to be AT&T. Their bid to takeover rival T-Mobile USA seems to be a dead deal, with the FCC releasing a report indicating the merger would be bad for America and the U.S. Department of Justice filing an antitrust suit against the merger. As if matters couldn’t get any worse for AT&T, Consumer Reports has released its latest annual customer satisfaction survey, ranking AT&T dead last in the country for the second year in a row.

A relatively unknown carrier, Consumer Cellular, was rated the top carrier in the U.S. When it came to the major four carriers, the rankings were:

  1. Verizon Wireless
  2. Sprint
  3. T-Mobile
  4. AT&T

Unsurprisingly, Verizon and Sprint finished neck and neck, with Verizon edging out Sprint for the #1 spot. T-Mobile finished in a not-too-distant 3rd, well ahead of AT&T. The full report can be found in the January edition of the Consumer Reports magazine, and is also available online for Consumer Reports subscribers.

Anyone out there use AT&T? Is their service really that bad?

Source: Consumer Reports

Anthony loves all things technology, from hardware to apps and games. You can connect with him via Google+ or Twitter by clicking one of the fancy doo-dads above.

    Most Tweeted This Week


    Look what us Tmobilers have to look forward too.. SMH !

    • BiGMERF

      didint an ATT executive today say they are still no holds barred after Tmobile

      • Anthony Domanico

        yeah, pretty much.

        Look on the bright side, maybe they’ll fire their customer service team and replace them with T-mos? ;)

        • THE STIG

          I don’t know about you, but lately, probably within the last year or so, I’ve felt the customer service from T-mobile has been dropping. They just don’t seem too willing to help like they once use to. This is through chat, and over the phone. T-Mobile use to win awards for having the best service around, and lately they haven’t won anything.

          • Jorge Eslava

            I couldn’t agree more, I’ll be cancelling my 4 lines as soon as I decide who will have the honor of being my next carrier, republic wireless sounds good but that beta tag raises concert.

          • Homncruse

            I don’t get why someone downvoted this. All criticism must automatically be downvoted? It’s a perfectly valid opinion, and one I actually agree with – and the facts don’t lie, they haven’t won any customer service awards lately. The few times I’ve dealt with support this last year has definitely been different.

            In the past, it used to be “I’m sorry you had this issue, we’ll make it right for you and also take you on a magic carpet ride across Arabia and give you a genie and a castle and a BRAND. NEW CAR!”. Now it’s “we’ve never heard of that problem. Factory reset your phone. Thankyoucomegain.”

          • NasLAU

            I’ve experienced this myself.Less knowledgeable reps, overseas call centers, longer wait times. I’ve stuck with T-MO because of their customer service. Since the merger talks there have been times when I’ve regretted it.

        • Alex

          That would be pretty nice. My mother has legitimately had hour long conversations with T-Mobile support people about their families and lives haha. Just shows how good they are at pleasing the customer.

        • Futureboy

          The sad thing is that even if they did eventually get T-Mobile they’d STILL be dead last in customer satisfaction.

          • WlfHart

            Probably because they’d fire T-Mo’s service staff…

        • Droid Dewd

          Doubtful. Usually its the upsurper(appropriately named here) who keeps their cust service reps and will eliminate the extra baggage. If only we could b so lucky.

    • koorsr

      Well hopefully for you guys T-Mobile will just get a giant check for all the worrying that AT&T has made you do.

  • stenzor

    Maybe 3rd time will be the charm…
    I’m in Canada so I can’t comment on AT&T but I’m pretty sure Rogers is just as bad, if not worse

  • Danerisms

    It is bad enough that if T-Mobile would have gone to their customers and said, if all of you will pay us $20 we will not sell to AT&T. I would have wrote them a check!

    • WlfHart

      If only the owners were more concerned about the money than ditching their overseas (US) operations… Of course if they were then T-Mo might not be so affordable.

    • tjwwm0m

      I’m in. How do we get them to do that?

  • BlkSquad

    Its not that bad, but i worked for them and still have friends who can pull some strings if i need them to. The customer service people on the phone suck ass though.

  • Charlesbrown79

    But their commercials make them look amazing…

    For some reason I don’t see them adding “voted worst cell provider on the US” in their commercials. Although other company’s commercial should use it against them.

  • ranwanimator

    Which is why the T-Mo buyout is a lose/lose situation for T-Mo customers.
    My Dad says “More bars in more places” means you actually have to find a bar (pub) in order to use a pay phone because AT&T never has signal.

    • Homncruse

      Your dad is a scholar and a gentleman and I’d be proud to share a beer with a man of that level of wisdom.

  • Dlux

    I guess I’m in a minority here when I can say that I haven’t really had a problem with AT&T yet.

    • ben dover

      Same here, I left AT&T to move over to Sprint for the EVO because of the lack of Android phones on AT&T.

      Sprint is much worse with 3g speeds around 300k.

      I am switching back to AT&T once they get the Galaxy Nexus.

      • Dlux

        I hope you are right on the Nexus to AT&T thought.

  • Bryan Stoner

    Here at my school AT&T seems to have terrible coverage. Other than that I had no idea they would end up at the bottom of a list -.-

    • Deeds

      Because they can’t seem to figure out how to make people happy

  • spintrex

    Emperor Palpatine must be pretty furious

  • staryoshi

    Verizon has been extremely stable for me over the years. I’m in the market for a new plan and smartphone, though, and t-mobile has caught my eye. I like the idea of a $70/mo plan with an unlocked phone more than being saddled with a $300 phone and a 2-year, more expensive contract from Verizon, but I want that US Galaxy Nexus something fierce… Too many options and they’re all too expensive :P

    TLDR Version: I like Verizon, but am tempted to go with t-mobile based primarily on their monthly plan and price.

    • ArticulateFool

      Time to purchase an unlocked GSM version overseas! You can even use the $30 Walmart plan on the nexus!

      • staryoshi

        I was thinking about doing that for a few months then bumping up to a better plan once I’ve tested the t-mobile waters. My main hesitation at this point is whether or not I can justify that phone at $760 up front, even though it’ll cost less than a Verizon plan (even with the fully-unlimited t-mobile plan) – I would prefer to have the 32GB model since it does not support micro SD expansion. Plus, it’s no fun to part with $760 up front, even though I’m held back mainly by the 2-year contract and less-so by the up front costs.

        • staryoshi

          Also, does the GSM version support t-mobile 4G?

  • ArticulateFool

    I expected this. The last company I worked for used at&t. I had to contact them over different member issues and their customer service was utterly ridiculous.

    We would need a person to sit with them on the phone for close yo a full day in order to have a chance at getting our issues resolved.

    Granted this was during the Cingular merger crapchute.

  • zyphbear

    How long before AT&T sees these numbers and tries to work on it?

    I had AT&T at one point many years ago (around ’99) and I was treated like a second class customer for no reason. (Even though I was post paid and got the expensive phone through them). What finally made me leave was I was going to try to upgrade my device and was left standing in a store for more than 45 minutes with only one other customer there. (and several employees) and was treated very rudely once they finally felt like helping me. I decided not to upgrade my device and won’t go back to them ever.

  • james bricknell

    i’m in the U.K so i dont get butt Fu#ked by my carrier :D

  • Chuxter

    AT&T = Absolute Torment & Tears

    • ToonPanda

      Couldn’t help laughing :’)

    • Hazadriel

      Enough said

  • Deeds

    Too bad for AT&T, they can’t seem to do anything right.

  • fnoodle

    I use AT&T as my main mobile provider in NYC. I have no major problems with the service or coverage. Every once in a while, I get a dropped call … that’s about it.

    I have never interacted with customer support (and would like to keep it that way, based on other people’s experience).

    Although I hesitate to defend them (what with all the monopoly-building exercises and all), they hold the best value for me at the moment. Service prices are least outrageous, national coverage is good (as good as Verizon). It uses GSM (read: international support). Their Android arsenal is improving.

    • LukeT32

      National coverage might be as good as Verizon in major metro areas. Try living in the country/small town areas of the midwest. I would bet Verizon’s service beat everyone hands down……

      • sylar

        Trust me AT&T is better than verzion in most of those areas, not all but most.

  • Hazadriel

    Their customer service is the same no matter the division: ISP, phone, mobile. Luckily I don’t use their mobile service although I have friends that do. Can’t go five minutes in a conversation without their phone dropping the call.

  • ToonPanda

    Damn, that must suck for them :) However, if I read the reactions here… (I’m not from the USA, so I can’t talk along)

  • Sean the Electrofreak

    Pretty happy on Sprint here… cheaper than VZW, unlimited data, roaming onto VZW’s network for free. Came from Verizon, and they were pretty good, and you get what you pay for, but it can be costly. Can’t stand AT&T (they put me off during their iPhone exclusivity) and T-Mo seems pretty decent.

  • Lee Swanson

    I think having the iPhone exclusive contract for so many years made AT&T lazy.

  • donger

    lol @ AT&T. I had horrible signal in downtown chicago with the iphone.

  • John

    to the guy who said he was in the UK and didn’t get f*cked by his carrier, I disagree having seen the T-Mobile plan in the USA $70 = £44.5645. This is what it gives you

    Unlimited Talk
    Unlimited Data
    Unlimited Text and Media Messaging

    And for $10 more (£6.36557) you can have free calls internationally and free texting too internationally. Think what we get!

  • ndub21

    Of course I have the carrier ranked lowest for customer satisfaction. Maybe I need to jump ship?

  • sylar

    I have AT&T, I don’t think their service is bad really but where i live it is literally the only option but it works fine everywhere else I have been. Never had any problem with customer support either. So no I think AT&T is fine thank you.

  • rashad360

    This is a good enough reason alone for preventing that merger. At&t would have gained millions of more customers to be d***s to.

  • YMS123

    Hey, AT&T, you were rated lowest in customer satisfaction AGAIN, wait, can you hear me? CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?

    • alexandro meza

      thats the problem, they don’t listen to anybody, especially their customers.

  • Urmil Parekh

    Man I must have been one of the lucky ones on AT&T, and I must be one of the unlucky ones on Verizon. I just switched from AT&T to Verizon, I had a nexus one since the time they released the AT&T variety and had no problems. Other than the occasional dropped call, I didn’t have any issues at all – definitely no network outages. Since I have been with Verizon, I have realized how good AT&T actually was – I wanted to wait for the Galaxy Nexus, but had to get in on the 0.01$ Razr deal on Amazon. My experiences with Verizon are as follows: Although the “coverage map” and several Verizon techs claim that my home is well within a 4G area – I only get 3G in and around my house?!?! I am willing to overlook this because I want the Gnex soooo bad! However, 3G speeds on Verizon are HORRIBLE!!!!! The best speed I have been able to get on their 3G is about 700 kbps – on AT&T I was regularly hitting 2-3 Mbps. When I do manage to cross into a 4G area, the speeds are fantastic – but I can’t seem to get good consistent 4G anywhere in the Jacksonville, FL area. At work it’s even worse – I tether my tablet, and the best speeds I get at work have been in the 300-400 kbps range – it’s excruciating – especially since I am spoiled by AT&T 3G speeds of 2-3Mbps IN my office. To top it all off, I get slapped with a big, fat 4G outage today – which seems to have also killed my 3G. I might just have no choice but to cancel this contract and go running back to the “darkside” – in my experiences their network has been much more reliable!

  • James Conley

    I really want my T-mobile to stay T-mobile….

  • tony_123

    att sucks

  • tony_123

    Am i the only one that want the merger with att and tmo to happen?

    • alexandro meza

      you are not the only one. but its obvious that the merger would only increase the lack of customer service. t-mo is known for overpriced plans and att just sucks at everything. two wrongs don’t make a right. right?

    • Homncruse

      No, you’re not the only one; you’re just the only one who doesn’t carry a C-level title at either company (presumably).

  • Marc’us H.

    This doesn’t really surprise me. When I worked for them they were second to last (to Sprint), and they had us attend seminars to try and boost our moral. They wasted a lot of money in this because they realized it’s not the sales reps IN store, it’s Customer Service and the coverage itself. They’ve done nothing to correct that in the years since I’ve left the company, and it shows. Congrats AT&T, but if you’re going to throw money at an issue, don’t throw it into the wind.

  • cesararv

    Im a at&t user and I agree !!

  • kylebrodeur

    LTE outage is no excuse… There are so many new features and great things about the device, LTE is one of many selling points not the only one…

    • Urmil Parekh

      You’re right the Razr is very nice, but for me data connectivity and speeds are crucial. I have a full time job and also own a small home health care agency and without data connectivity and reasonable speed I am unable to get all of the pertinent information where it needs to go, when it needs to get there. So at this point I am less productive than I was with AT&T using my Nexus one.

  • kevin charliethesuperturtle

    Isnt this a surprise

  • thechad

    Do you think its all the whiny baby iPhone users that are so picky that they would never give anyway a good score, no matter how hard they tried?

    • bedwa

      Thank you. That’s exactly what I feel the majority of it is. I’m a CSR, and I hear too often that I know what I’m talking about, but also on the other end of the coin I get people who whine about issues that with 5 min of research, they would fix it themselves. Ugh.

  • golfpedaler

    I’ve been happy with T-Mobile…Glad they won’t be merging with AT&T…

  • aranea

    As an ATT customer I’m not surprised at all.

  • kimminer1

    nothing new here

  • Nathan D.

    Well this is probably the many reason why the merge is failing

  • laosgurllynn

    1 epic fail for at&t. Im not surprised at all.

  • humidity

    Yay Verizon FTW! (Even though I’m so mad at them for the whole Galaxy Nexus ordeal) >.<

  • Michael Ian

    Like what many have shared, not surprised.

  • phaet2112

    If they would spend money to upgrade their infrastructure and call centers, then it wouldn’t be as bad. But too many nickel and dime hits, and an unwillingness to work with customers eats away at any desire to stay with them.

  • Richard Yarrell

    I wish sprint well in the future deployment of LTE as well as the EVO BRAND in 2012. Today Verizon has the best network that is true and this is a well deserved #1 spot…

  • Danthes24

    I think Sprint are the best providers.

  • Rob F

    So At&t is trying to buy T-Mobile so they can go from being last to being… last?! They would be doing the world a favor by going out of business.

  • alexandro meza

    this is not news. it was inevitable. they suck. i should know i spent 20 minutes (felt like three hours) of my phone plan with their customer support and didn’t get anything resolved. don’t be so shocked AT&T, if anything i would say that this is your goal at the beginning of each year. Oh yeah, U-verse sucks too. 😰 😖

  • falgun shah

    Agreed ATT is not as good as Verizon, but its not that bad too…

  • Ilyse Rose

    I’m not surprised about any of this. Especially not TMobile and AT&T. TMobile has been going down hill ever since the merger was put on the table and everyone I know with AT&T says they have the worst customer service, not just of phone companies but of any company they’ve dealt with.

  • antfelici

    Is Sprint really #2. I don’t know.

  • Billy

    From my personal experience … which is obviously an adequate sample size … this seems about right to me. Athough, VZW is losing points in every category on these botched phone launches … just because.

  • ariesness

    I have AT&T and I’m not one bit surprised that they rated lowest in customer satisfaction. Terrible reception aside, their customer service is an even greater joke. Can’t wait till my contract with them is over!

  • Androidcrazed6

    Im currently on Sprint and i have to say that i bet the only reason that their are not in first is two factors

    1) No 4g LTE until next year most possibly

    2) Lack of android phones compared to Verizon because Verizon lately has been on FIRE with the Razr, Rezound, and rumored Droid 4!!! Sure Sprint has the Epic, 3d, and Photon, but i would change any day

  • kungpaodragon

    AT&T is going down. Without exclusive rights to iPhone, people are going to leave. But then again, if so many iPhone users leave, their network might actually be worth a damn..

  • jamal

    AT&T has some trust issues. Guess they don’t want to be talking to their customers.

  • jeffro2607

    My brother has att. Just coming from him, he hates it with a passion. Waste of money

  • Clint Haynes


  • Andrea Cristiano Maietta

    At&t has always been great for me and my family for over 10 years and all this BS makes me laugh

  • Glenn Falvey

    I have to admit, for the first time, ever, I had poor customer service at Verizon when questioning about upgrades. They completely brushed me off. I was in there for less then a minute. They were not even busy.

  • Adryan maldonado

    i Imagine nelson from the simpsons laughing right now HA HA!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • dpleus

    I think satisfaction with your carrier is all going to be based your personal experience. My experience with Sprint and AT&T in the past have not been the best, as I have been shafted during upgrades and as such I have left both carriers and I am now with Verizon. But the in store customer service in this area is so bad Verizon had to bring in 2 or 3 third party vendors to make up for it. Here’s hoping that the experience with Verizon is bettwr than my past experience.

  • eioous

    I do gotta say, thats no big surprise there

  • redman618

    I as well had ATT for over six years then left to Sprint for Evo 4G. Only lasted six months on that terrible phone and horrific signal, broke Sprint contract and ATT let me come back with my old plan (unlimited data BTW). That was 12 months ago! Since then ATT has let me upgrade to the Skyrocket a full 10 months early. It could be worst, but just remember the grass is not always greener on the other side! In my book ATT gets no complaints!!

  • Sean BillyMaysHere


  • MJM128

    And this is but one of the many reasons I don’t want AT&T to buy T-Mobile.

  • Voliam

    Is it that bad, you ask? Actually, it’s WORSE! My blood pressure skyrockets at the thought of having to call them! How convenient that I began experiencing reception problems after I canceled my ATT landline…

  • mikesuds

    AT&T 4g speeds are impressive, though I cant imagine caring enough to ditch Verizon with my grandfathered unlimited data.

    • Shadowlore

      That depends on your area you live in. Have seen some really good HSPA+ speeds (what they call ’4G’) but have also seen some of their HSPA networks that are marginally better than their 2G/Edge. Has a lot to do with area congestion.

  • n25philly

    I last dealt with AT&T back when they were still Cingular. The customer service was so bad that I vowed to never use them ever again. That hasn’t changed since the became AT&T, and if they do manage to buy up T-Mobile I will jump ship, likely for Sprint.

  • Shadowlore

    AT&T… ahh.. how much do I hate thee…

    No, I’m not being melodramatic, I quite literally hate that company.

    I can bore you with exact details in a followup post if anyone would like to hear the horror stories, but suffice to say, the amount of BS I’ve had to deal with regarding AT&T this year has turned me to the point I will *NEVER* choose them as a provider. EVER.

    Here’s a brief example of what I have to deal with, with AT&T:

    I’m a BES Admin here at work, and I have to deal with Blackberry activations every week. I deal with Sprint, AT&T, Verizon, and a handful of Tmobile.

    Verizon, from the time I place the order on the phone, or online for a new device.. I get the thing in my hands, and have it all setup in less than 24 hours (if I order it before 5pm CST on the day of the order). Within that 24 hour period, I’ve gotten the device in my hands, have it activated, provisioned to an Enterprise plan, setup for the user, and either in the users’ hands, or fedex’d to a remote user. Awesome timeframe, and my users often comment on how fast it all happens.

    Sprint/Tmobile take 48-72 hours to get the same done as Verizon. Not as fast, but fully acceptable.

    AT&T?? If I order the phone on Monday, before 5pm CST.. I *MIGHT* have it in my hands by End of business day on Thursday.. unprovisioned/unactivated. More than likely, I can expect it to show up late Friday. (2pm Fed Ex/UPS Delivery)

    Then I have to call AT&T and have the phone provisioned.. routinely the CSR on the other end of the phone does one of a few things: 1.) types the SIM card info in wrong 2.) Activates the device as a feature phone. 3.) activates the device as a ‘smartphone’ 4.) Activates the device as a BIS Blackberry device.

    All of the previous are wrong… HOWEVER, I can’t verify that until a few days have past, when the phone finally gets it’s provisioning sent to it. Do note, that it takes all the other providers less than 10 mins to get a provisioning setup right the FIRST time (Ok, that’s a slight exaggeration, Sprint has typo’d a sim card wrong.. once.)

    Once the provisioning is setup wrong, I then have to call AT&T back, and tell them. They will tell me to reboot the device. Still not working. Reload the OS. Still not working. Swap SIMS… still not working. Call RIM.

    I call RIM (am on a first name basis with several of their engineers now) and am told ‘Guess what? That PIN isn’t setup correctly as a BES device.’ Shocking.

    I call AT&T back, they bicker and throw a fit.. tell me I don’t know what I’m talking about, and then I bring the RIM tech on from the other line. Said RIM tech proceeds to lambaste AT&T CSR, calls them everything but a human, and WOW.. mysteriously the device gets a proper provisioning.

    (TLDR) So in a nutshell, what takes other carriers 1-3 days to do.. it takes AT&T 8-10.

    Don’t get me started on their hardwire connections either. It’s taken them 9 months to get a freaking connection turned on properly in our building… oh yeah, did I mention we’re already lit with their fiber, but they can’t seem to get it going correctly? (if anyone wants the full story, and a giggle out of my misfortune, feel free to ask.. I’ll post a link to all the gory details.

    So no.. I’m not shocked in any way that AT&T has ranked dead last. Based on my experiences, I’d rather use a tincan and string to communicate than use AT&T.

    • Shadowlore

      Sidenote: Was just handed 3 devices. 2 VZW, 1 AT&T. Wanna guess what 2 are already downloading their BES Service books and policies? (Sitting on hold for AT&T atm)

  • bellken

    just went to verizon from sprint, no complaints here

  • Elliot Powell

    I really Love t-mobile but I know if att does get any of T-mobile I will most likely be moving to sprint, Verizon is way to damned expensive

  • erasmo18

    I’m so glad I left AT&T and switched to Sprint, the $150 a month bill plus I couldn’t make a call inside of my parents home was a motivator.

  • pmex83

    Wonder why att continues to have such low scores.

  • flake

    ATT treats me like a second class citizen. I complain so much I’ve become paranoid that they listen in on my conversations. Dont know WTH their pricing plan comes from I do not understand how I’m billed.