WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.: March 5, 2015 — As the incidence of texting and Web use grows, so does the incidence of wireless network problems, with the year-over-year increase driven primarily by issues with data services, including phone and mobile broadband Web, according to the J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Wireless Network Quality Performance StudySM—Volume 1 released today.

Now in its 13th year, the semiannual study is based on 10 problem areas of the customer experience: dropped calls; calls not connected; audio issues; failed/late voicemails; lost calls; text transmission failures; late text message notifications; Web connection errors; slow downloads; and email connection errors. Network performance issues are measured as problems per 100 (PP100) network connections, with a lower score reflecting fewer problems and better network performance. Carrier performance is examined in six geographic regions: Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, North Central, Southwest and West. In addition to evaluating the network quality experienced by customers with wireless phones, the study also   measures the network performance of tablets and mobile broadband devices.

According to the study, data-related issues, including phone and mobile Web problems, have steadily increased from 2014. The average number of problems with mobile Web connections, excessively slow mobile Web loading, and email connection errors has increased to 17 PP100 in 2015 Vol. 1 from 14 PP100 in 2014 Vol. 1. 

The volume of texting has also increased, with 47 texts sent/received over a 48-hour period, on average, compared with 42 texts in 2014 Vol. 1. Additionally, the average number of phone mobile Web interactions occurring over a 48-hour period is higher year over year (16 vs. 14, respectively).

“Smartphone users send a high volume of calls, text messages and emails, which strains carrier networks. As tablet ownership continues to rise, increased frequency of mobile video downloads further exacerbates network strain,” said Kirk Parsons, senior director and practice leader of telecommunications at
J.D. Power. “Given the increase in network connection problems, carriers providing faster and more reliable connections may have a competitive advantage, particularly for cellular tablet owners, who have a high propensity to switch carriers in pursuit of quality connections.”

KEY FINDINGS

  • Overall wireless network quality problem incidence is 13 PP100 network connections vs. 12 PP100 in 2014 Vol. 1.
  • On average, wireless customers experience the highest number of data quality problems on their mobile broadband device (27 PP100), followed by tablet (16 PP100) and phone (17 PP100).
  • While 14 percent of wireless customers indicate having a tablet with a data plan from their wireless carrier, 9 percent have a mobile broadband device, such as an aircard or hotspot.
  • When examining types of data problems, email connection errors occur more frequently on tablets than phones (7 PP100 vs. 6 PP100, respectively). In contrast, issues related to slow mobile Web connections are more likely to occur on phones (16 PP100) than on mobile broadband devices (14 PP100) and tablets (12 PP100).
  • Cellular tablet owners are willing to switch carriers if a competitor can offer faster, more reliable connections at a comparable price. Although satisfaction among customers with cellular tablets is higher overall, 24 percent of those customers say they “definitely will” or “probably will” switch their carrier within the next year, compared with just 15 percent of customers without a cellular tablet.

Study Rankings

Verizon Wireless ranks highest in all six regions—Northeast; Mid-Atlantic; Southeast; North Central; Southwest; and West—with typically lower PP100 scores in call quality, messaging quality and data quality.

The 2015 U.S. Wireless Network Quality Performance Study—Volume 1 is based on responses from 27,065 wireless customers. The study was fielded from July 2014 through December 2014.

Media Relations Contacts

John Tews; Troy, Mich.; 248-680-6218; media.relations@jdpa.com

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Media Contacts:

John Tews

Troy, Michigan

(248) 680-6218

media.relations@jdpa.com