J.D. PowerNetwork upgrades and greater network capacity as a result of 4G service expansion have driven a decline in the incidence of wireless network problems with data quality, according to a new study from J.D. Power.

Overall wireless network quality problem incidence has held steadily at 12 problems per 100 (PP100) network connections since 2012. Declining from 19 PP100 in 2012 to 14 PP100 in 2014, improvements in data quality have been the primary driver of overall improvement in overall wireless network quality over the past three years, according to the “J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Wireless Network Quality Performance Study – Vol. 1.

Among the report’s key findings:

  • Verizon topped the ranks of wireless service providers in all six regions.
  • Both data speed and connectivity improved this year. Issues related to slow mobile Web experiences have declined to 17 PP100 in 2014 from 21 PP100 in 2012, which is largely attributed to broader rollouts of 4G networks. Similarly, issues with email connections have declined to 5 PP100 from 7 PP100 during the same time frame.
  • Customers with 4G smartphones experience 3 PP100 fewer problems with data-related issues than those with smartphones operating on previous generation technology (3G). Customers using 4G smartphones experience 6 PP100 fewer problems with slow mobile Web, compared with 3G customers.
  • This increasingly positive experience with their network is translating into increased engagement for wireless customers. For example, 25 percent of customers using 4G smartphones say they “strongly agree” that they are committed to their carrier, compared with 20 percent of those using 3G smartphones who say the same.
  • Customers using faster, more efficient 4G networks are 14 percent more likely to recommend their wireless carrier than those using networks that have not yet been upgraded.

“While the performance of network data quality has improved, given the robust upgrade to 4G technology across the country, there is still performance disparity across user segments and type of devices,” J.D. Power senior director of wireless services Kirk Parsons was quoted as saying.

“Based on the varying degree of consistency with overall network performance, it’s critical that wireless carriers continue to invest in improving both the call quality and especially the data connection-related issues that customers continue to experience as 4G service becomes even more prevalent.”