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AT&T earns top marks among wireless peers in recent J.D. Power surveys

Why it matters to you

AT&T's impressive marks for customer service set a high bar for what you can expect the next time you step into an AT&T store.

AT&T, the second-largest mobile carrier in the United States, has something to gloat about. On Thursday, it announced that it received top marks in two recent J.D. Power studies.

The company performed well in the area of purchase experience. It’s the eighth time in a row AT&T has distinguished itself in the J.D. Power 2017 U.S. Wireless Purchase Experience Study, and the first time it’s outscored the industry average and closest competitor by 14 points.

More: AT&T’s Glenn Lurie pushes back on criticism of the company’s moves outside wireless

Separately, it received outstanding marks in last month’s J.D. Power’s Wireless Customer care rankings for the second time in a row.

“Customers have spoken. And we are thrilled with what they had to say,” CEO Glenn Lurie said in a press release. “Add that to our recent award for wireless customer care and that means we swept J.D. Power’s [studies] among full service providers. Simply put, this means AT&T is providing a great overall experience when you shop with us.”

The good news comes at a time when AT&T’s mainstay businesses face challenges. In January, a report by Cowen and Company Equity Research found that the carrier lost more subscribers on a quarterly basis than any other American carrier. And the company has lost postpaid phone subscriptions in the last eight consecutive quarters.

More: Following in Verizon’s footsteps, AT&T is raising its activation and upgrade fees

Strategic shifts may help to turn around the trend. AT&T’s become the top provider of in-car connectivity, with more than 10 million cars on its network across some 22 brands. The company’s recently broadened support of internet of things (IoT) products, which comprise home appliances, drones, and wearable devices. And the carrier, which owns satellite television provider DirecTV, is in talks to acquire Time Warner for $85.4 billion. Assuming the effort isn’t stonewalled by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, the deal is expected to be approved by both parties this week.  

In an interview with Digital Trends earlier this year, Laurie stressed that AT&T was focused on “entertainment first” and connectivity second. “I respect my competitors,” he said, “[but] we’re not just a wireless company.” He underlined his belief that DirecTV Now, an a la carte television service that streams cable channels to digital subscribers, represents the future of entertainment. “It’s very well-priced,” he said. “You want content to come with you.”