Customer satisfaction with their wireless service has dipped slightly, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) Wireless Phone Service and Cell Phone Study 2021-2022.
The latest report said that customer satisfaction has slipped 1.4% to a score of 73 (out of 100), with mobile network operators (MNOs) and full-service mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) each receiving that score, though value MVNOs scored slightly better, with a 75.
Among MNOs, T-Mobile reclaimed the top spot with a 74 for overall satisfaction, surpassing last year’s leaders, AT&T and Verizon, both of which received scores of 73. U.S. Cellular finished last despite improving to 71.
In terms of network quality, which includes call clarity and strength, reliability (dropped calls), network coverage and data speed Verizon remained first place among MNOs with a network quality score of 78, followed by AT&T (77), T-Mobile (75) and U.S. Cellular (73).
Optimum Mobile, appearing in the index for the first time, was ranked as the top full-service MVNO, with an ACSI score of 77. The category win was further evidence of cable companies advancing in the MVNO market, as financial analysts at MoffettNathanson noted in a recent report.
Among other full-service MNVOs, Cricket Wireless was up 1% and Xfinity Mobile was down 3%, finishing in a tie for second at 76. They were followed by Metro, T-Mobile and Spectrum Mobile (each at 74) and Boost Mobile (71).
Consumer Cellular topped value MVNOs and all other carriers, with a score of 78, followed by Straight Talk Wireless and Tracfone, each at 76; Walmart Family Mobile (74), Simple Mobile and Total Wireless (each at 73), SafeLink Wireless (72), Assurance Wireless (70) and Q Link Wireless (68).
“The industry’s overall stability was a bit surprising last year, but now we’re beginning to see the effects of consumers’ widespread dependence on wireless, and the results aren’t ideal,” says Forrest Morgeson, Assistant Professor of Marketing at Michigan State University and Director of Research Emeritus at the ACSI, in a prepared statement. “The 1.4% decline in customer satisfaction for wireless phone service is a pretty clear indicator of system load problems. While it’s easy to suggest this is merely a short-term glitch in the industry that will course-correct as individuals cut down on their screen time, it’s worth keeping an eye on this trend moving forward.”