The ratings, which are available in full in the current issue of Consumer Reports and online to subscribers, showed a noticeable drop in the satisfaction of AT&T customers while U.S. Cellular took the top spot for customer service and satisfaction.
Other major carriers, such as Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile, earned fair scores, but were at least eight points lower than U.S. Cellular on the Consumer Reports ratings of zero to 100.
Despite earning the title of worst carrier in the Consumer Reports survey, AT&T recently added 2.6 million subscribers thanks to the carriers lock on the iPhone. We wouldn't be surprised to see more subscribers thanks to the $25 iPhone 4 you can get at RadioShack. If Verizon really does get the iPhone in January, as rumored, it could be one of the biggest wins for cell phone customer satisfaction in quite some time. That is if Verizon's network can handle the expected influx of users.
Fletcher Cook, AT&T spokesman, told CNN, ""We take this seriously and we continually look for new ways to improve the customer experience,"
While AT&T is working to make things better, the reality is that the quality of cellular service varies greatly form user to user and from city to city -- sometimes even from one street to the next.
Tips for Finding the Best Cell Phone Carrier in Your City:
- Ask Your Friends on Twitter and Facebook: If you're looking to switch carriers, ask your online friends who has the best service in the areas they frequent. As an added bonus, they'll probably also tell you what they think of their current phone, too.
- Check BillShrink: BillShrink isn't just a great tool for finding the cheapest plan, it can help you determine the best carrier by coverage, as well.
- Ratings for Your City: You can also check out the the City Rankings on Consumer Reports, but keep in mind they are from January 2010 and only available to subscribers.
- Try it Out: Most carriers offer a 30-day trial period where you can test the network. Be sure to get all of the details, including how to get your money back and how to transfer your phone number if you don't like the service.