AT&T is the worst U.S. carrier, says Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports, a nonprofit review magazine, has named AT&T the worst cell phone carrier in the United States, according to a survey of 58,000 of its readers. The survey is one part of a larger annual report on the cell phone industry.

“Consumer Reports data, reflecting all versions of the phone, found that iPhone owners were much less satisfied with their carrier and rated data service (Web and e-mail) lower than owners of smart phones on other carriers that, like the iPhone, have a host of apps to encourage heavy data use,” the magazine said on its blog.

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AT&T ranked last out of five carriers, scoring a 60 out of 100 from readers. More than 50 percent of those who used AT&T owned a version of the iPhone. The score is a six point drop from the same survey last year. The carrier got almost unanimously horrid ratings for service and customer support. Verizon, which also has a fleet of iPhone-like Android devices, was the second highest ranked carrier with a 74 percent.

“We take this seriously and we continually look for new ways to improve the customer service,” said an AT&T spokesperson.

“Our survey suggests that an iPhone from Verizon Wireless, which is rumored, could indeed be good news for iPhone fans,” said Paul Reynolds, Electronics Editor for Consumer Reports. Verizon has taken a hit this year as well. In most years since 2003, the carrier was ranked number one, but this year U.S. Cellular handily defeated it and Sprint nearly tied. Could heavy data use from Android phones be hurting Verizon as well?

Consumer Reports made news a few months ago when it refused to endorse the iPhone 4, citing reception issues with the devices’s internal antenna, a hot talking point when the device hit shelves in June.

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