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AT&T Ranks Highest in Wireless Purchase Experience Performance among Full-Service Carriers; Consumer Cellular Ranks Highest among Non-Contract Carriers

COSTA MESA, Calif.: 16 Feb. 2017 — Overall satisfaction with the wireless purchase process has improved as extended monthly data allotments have increased, according to the J.D. Power 2017 U.S. Wireless Purchase Experience Full-Service Performance StudySM—Volume 1 and the J.D. Power 2017 U.S. Wireless Purchase Experience Non-Contract Performance StudySM—Volume 1, both released today.

The studies find that overall satisfaction with the purchase experience among full-service customers is 845 (on a 1,000-point scale), an 11-point increase from the 2016 Vol. 2 Study.  Overall scores for all ranked full-service carriers have improved from the last volume.

Part of the satisfaction improvement can be attributed to an increase in the number of customers with service plans that extend monthly data plan allowances. Among such customers, 60% use data carried over from the previous month, a considerable increase from 53% last volume and 40% in 2016 Vol. 1. Overall satisfaction is 865 among customers who use data that rolls over vs. 824 among those who do not. Satisfaction is higher in all factors among those who use rollover data, with the largest gaps in cost of service (+87 points) and offerings and promotions (+51 points).

Additionally, the percentage of customers who have unlimited data plans has risen to 19% from 18% last volume. Though small, this increase is notable because it is the first volume-over-volume rise in the percentage of unlimited data customers since the 2011 Vol. 2 Study. Overall satisfaction tends to rise as monthly data allocations increase, and it peaks among customers with unlimited data plans (864 vs. 847 among those with data allowances). Satisfaction is higher among customers with unlimited data than among those with data allowances in all factors, with the widest gap in cost of service (+34 points).

“Full-service carriers are feeling the pressure from mobile virtual network operators’ lower-priced plans, such as Project Fi, to improve the value of their data plans,” said Kirk Parsons, senior director and technology, media & telecom practice leader at J.D. Power. “As a result, unlimited plans are making a comeback after years of declining availability, as seen by the recent rollout of new offerings from all major carriers, most recently Verizon Wireless. Additionally, customers without unlimited data are increasingly taking advantage of rollover options to get the most out of their plans.”

Following are key findings of the 2017 studies:

  • Younger customers driving demand for more customer-friendly data options: Among customers who use rollover data, 60% are 18-34 years old, while the same age group accounts for 50% of those who do not use rollover data. Similarly, 59% of customers who have unlimited data are 18-34 years old vs. 56% of those who have data allowances.
  • Store representatives more attentive to full-service carriers: More customers of full-service carriers indicate that their store representative was attentive than customers of non-contract carriers. For example, 82% of full-service customers are greeted by a store representative vs. 60% of non-contract customers. Store sales representative satisfaction is 856 for full-service carriers vs. 773 for non-contract carriers.
  • Average price of wireless phone increases: Among full-service customers, the average price paid for a wireless phone increases to $261 from $247 last volume. Among non-contract customers, the average price paid for a wireless phone increases to $117 from $116 last volume.

Study Rankings

AT&T ranks highest among wireless full-service carriers for the eighth consecutive time, with an overall score of 859 points. AT&T performs highest in all six purchase experience factors.

Consumer Cellular ranks highest among wireless non-contract carriers for the second consecutive time, with an overall score of 852 points. Consumer Cellular ranks highest in the following factors: website; offerings and promotions; phone sales representative; and cost of service.

About the Studies

Now in their 14th year, the semiannual studies evaluate the wireless purchase experience of customers who use any one of three purchase channels: phone calls with sales representatives; visits to a retail wireless store; or online/website. Overall purchase experience satisfaction with both full-service and non-contract carriers is measured in six factors (in order of importance): store sales representative; website; offerings and promotions; phone sales representative; facility; and cost of service.

The 2017 U.S. Wireless Purchase Experience Full-Service Performance Study—Volume 1 is based on responses from 8,058 full-service customers. The 2017 U.S. Wireless Purchase Experience Non-Contract Performance Study—Volume 1 is based on responses from 3,376 non-contract customers. Both semiannual studies are based on the experiences of current wireless service customers who made a sales transaction with their current carrier within the past three months. The study was fielded July-December 2016.

For more information about the 2017 U.S. Wireless Purchase Experience studies, visit http://www.jdpower.com/resource/us-wireless-purchase-experience-satisfaction-study.

J.D. Power is a global leader in consumer insights, advisory services and data and analytics. Those capabilities enable J.D. Power to help its clients drive customer satisfaction, growth and profitability. Established in 1968, J.D. Power is headquartered in Costa Mesa, Calif., and has offices serving North/South America, Asia Pacific and Europe.

Media Relations Contact

Geno Effler; Costa Mesa, Calif.; 714-621-6224; media.relations@jdpa.com

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Media Contacts:

Geno Effler

Costa Mesa, California

(714) 621-6224

media.relations@jdpa.com