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AT&T ranks last in customer satisfaction, Sprint on the rise, survey says

May 17, 2011 | 11:47 am


AT&T's customer-satisfaction rating places the wireless giant in dead last among major carriers, and at its lowest point since shortly before the launch of the original iPhone in 2007, according to a survey.

In terms of making customers happy, Verizon and Sprint tied for the top spot among the most popular U.S. carriers, according to the report from the American Customer Satisfaction Index.

T-Mobile, which AT&T is in the process of buying, came in third, falling to a five-year low in the ACSI's survey.

Verizon has been the nation's leader in customer satisfaction for the last six years, but a dip of 1% in its ACSI score left it even with Sprint for the first time.

Sprint has been on an upward trend, "rising 3% following consecutive double-digit gains," the indexing group said.

"In just three years, Sprint has emerged from 15 points below even the second worst in the category to claim a share of the industry lead," the ACSI said.

AT&T's survey score fell 4% this year, "its worst score since 2006 -- the year before the launch of the iPhone," the ACSI said.

With AT&T buying T-Mobile -- a move that rival Sprint, some Times readers and a number of U.S. senators aren't keen on -- it's unclear how the combined companies would do in terms of customer satisfaction, said Claes Fornell, who founded the ACSI survey and is a professor at the University of Michigan.

"It is common to find a reduction in customer satisfaction after mergers, but it is rare for customer satisfaction to drop ahead of a merger," Fornell said in a statement. "Assuming the deal is approved, it remains to be seen if a much larger AT&T can regain the strength of its customer relationships."


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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Photo: The AT&T logo is seen in a RadioShack store in Gloucester, Mass., on Oct. 19, 2009. Credit: Lisa Poole/ Associated Press