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AT&T Repeats As Lowest-Rated Wireless Carrier 201

redletterdave writes "Consumer Reports' latest ratings survey of cell phone carriers revealed that Verizon Wireless scored the highest satisfaction score out of the four major U.S. service providers, earning particularly high grades for texting and data service. Verizon was followed closely by Sprint and T-Mobile USA, but all three companies earned scores lower overall than their figures from last year. AT&T was at the very bottom of the list for the second year in a row. While AT&T's satisfaction score in 2011 wasn't as bad as its score from 2010, the Dallas-based cell phone provider, which recently discontinued its bid to acquire its better rival T-Mobile, still ranked at the bottom of the pack. Last year, AT&T was the only carrier for the Apple iPhone, but still managed to receive the lowest scores."
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AT&T Repeats As Lowest-Rated Wireless Carrier

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  • AT&T (Score:5, Informative)

    by BriggsBU ( 1138021 ) on Wednesday December 07, 2011 @12:31AM (#38288252)
    After working for AT&T, it is no surprise to me that they rate so lowly. Their employees often find their hands tied when they want to help a customer. They also have a 0-5 score that all accounts are given. This score is one of the first things an agent sees when the customer's account comes up. Customers whose accounts rate a 0 or 1 (either due to being on the cheapest plan or due to poor credit/payment history) find themselves treated like a red-headed step child. AT&T's policies actually state that any customer threatening to disconnect their service due to a dispute should be transferred to a senior representative UNLESS they are a 0 or a 1. 0's and 1's should instead be disconnected immediately and have their Early Termination Fee waived. Essentially, AT&T doesn't want them as customers and will drop them the instant they have an excuse.
  • by erice ( 13380 ) on Wednesday December 07, 2011 @01:26AM (#38288460) Homepage

    Yes it is.

    AT&T was broken up into AT&T (The long distance carrier), Bell Labs (relabeled Lucent), and regional Bell Operating Companies.

    AT&T of today is Southwestern Bell (SBC) + Pac Bell + Bell South + Ameritech

    Verizon is NYNEX + Bell Atlantic + GTE

    CenturyLink is USWest + CenturyTel (not a Bell company)

    Cingular was a joint venture between SBC and Bell South and was renamed when those two entities merged and acquired AT&T.

    The Modern day AT&T is a reformation of the bulk of the old AT&T, albeit with management lead by one of the more ethically challenged corners rather than from the original top.

  • Video (Score:4, Informative)

    by antdude ( 79039 ) on Wednesday December 07, 2011 @01:29AM (#38288474) Homepage Journal
  • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Wednesday December 07, 2011 @01:33AM (#38288490) Journal
    The AT&T which was broken up by the Feds was a monopoly that wouldn't let you plug your own phone into the wall. What we have now isn't so great, but lets not imagine that AT&T from the days before was cream and lollipops.

    Also if you really want service from AT&T, go into the store. That's been my experience.
  • Re:AT&T (Score:5, Informative)

    by MBC1977 ( 978793 ) on Wednesday December 07, 2011 @02:00AM (#38288566) Journal
    Its called "firing a customer" and it makes perfect sense. If the customer is not profitable and cannot be made to become profitable, why keep them as a customer? Basic cost accounting there.
  • by schnell ( 163007 ) <me@schn[ ].net ['ell' in gap]> on Wednesday December 07, 2011 @02:13AM (#38288616) Homepage

    They're all evil for pushing a mandatory data plan on smartphones despite these phones generally having wi-fi already built in.

    I know this spoils the Slashdot anti-corporate groupthink storyline, but the cellular carriers don't just do this stuff for the sake of being evil. The fact is that telcos pay a lot more for smartphones than they do for dumb phones, but customers generally still want "a phone" to cost anywhere between $0 and $200. So the telcos lose more money on every smartphone sale and in order to make that money back they make sure you are forced to have a data plan. The majority - although clearly not you - of cellular customers with smartphones want that anyway, so not a big deal. If they weren't charging you for a data plan they would be extending the length of the contract or something else... it's not being evil just for fun, it's making sure they get their money back on subsidizing your new shiny toy.

    Here's a hint - if you want a smartphone and no data plan, buy a non-carrier-branded version unlocked at full price, then take it to one of the US GSM carriers and away you go. (With most GSM carriers, the smartphone plan automatic enforcement is based on serial numbers of subsidized phone models so if you buy some unlocked GSM smartphone that carrier doesn't sell, you should be fine.) Just don't expect the carrier to sell you a $700 phone for $100 and not charge you for a data plan and a two-year contract to make that money back for them plus interest.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 07, 2011 @02:25AM (#38288648)

    Not so with ATT. According to some forum, people who did that were getting notified that they were getting a 20 or 30 dollar data plan smacked onto their account. Regardless if the phone is unlocked or not.

    Besides, as I said earlier, I've offered to buy the phone outright (full price) and I've been told by several salesmen as well as customer services online that the data plan is still required. See link ->

    According to them, the phone just won't work "right" without a data plan.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 07, 2011 @03:25AM (#38288850)

    Well that's all well and good, but the companies could offer to sell the phone for actual cost, and then not require the data plan. (Or give a discount on it).

    What they are doing also means that since you pay off the phone in 2 years, anyone who doesn't upgrade their phone every 2 years is overpaying and being ripped off. They should break out the cost of the phone as a loan, and list it separately. Then when the phone is paid off in two years, you have a choice:
    a. New Phone, New Loan
    b. Same phone, decreased charges.

    (Again, disclaimer, this is how basically it works in Japan, except you also do get some discount on the loan if you maintain a service contract).

    As for the smartphone plan enforcement, I am not sure that's how it works. When I was in the US, I bought a Blackberry pearl through T-Mobile, and then I got them to unlock it for me. When I left the US, I gave it to my girlfriend, who stuck her AT&T SIM Card in it - and they immediately put her on the Blackberry plan.

    Here my carrier (Softbank) has three types of SIM cards that will only work in their respective phones:
    1. Normal/Prepaid cards - These work in feature phones, including all prepaid phones.
    2. iPhone SIMs - These only work in iPhones.
    3. SmartPhone SIMS - These work in Android and other smartphones.

    Notes: The iPad SIMs are different yet again, and I don't know about the Data card SIMs. The SmartPhone SIMS start at like $3 a month, so it's not bad. The iPhone SIMs start at like $12 or something per month, but they come bundled with an iPhone email address.

    Obviously, if you have an unlocked phone compatible with their network, and of the SIMs will work with it, at least for calls. I have tested this with an eMobile Android Phone.

    They have a slightly legitimate reason for separating the smartphone and normal phone SIMs, which is that the data rate for normal phones is much much higher than for SmartPhones. (i.e. if you put a normal SIM into an Android phone and it did all kinds of synching in the background, you would get an enormous phone bills) - though they could certainly solve it in other ways. On the other hand, they have less of a legitimate reason to lock the phones at all, since the consumer has to actually pay off the loan for the phone. I won't buy any more phones from Softbank, even if I plan to use them on their network, because it means I can't ever give my phones as hand-me-downs or use them as back-ups unless they are both on Softbank and also of the same SIM type. Interestingly, the other carriers don't generally lock their phones.

  • by HamburglerJones ( 1539661 ) on Wednesday December 07, 2011 @08:33AM (#38289908)
    Steven Colbert had a pretty good bit on this [] when Cingular and AT&T merged a few years ago. (Fast forward to 2:21 in the clip)
  • by smpoole7 ( 1467717 ) on Wednesday December 07, 2011 @10:20AM (#38291006) Homepage

    If you read the fine print in your contract, you'll probably find that the $20 a month was an "introductory" offer. They're notorious for that -- and in fairness, they're by no means the only provider that does it.

    -- Stephen

Not only is UNIX dead, it's starting to smell really bad. -- Rob Pike