J.D. Power has just released their rankings for 2017 when it comes to wireless carriers, and AT&T takes the cake. They earned the number one spot for wireless purchase experience, scoring a 859 on a 1,000-point scale. That puts AT&T just ahead of T-Mobile who took home a score of 845 which was actually tied for the industry average. Just below the industry average came Verizon with a score of 838 and Sprint was last with a score of 806.
The study noted that the average score among the four carriers actually increased by 11 points. They state that part of the satisfaction improvement is due to the number of customers that had service plans that extend monthly data plan allowances. For instance, we've seen many plans getting more data without seeing the price of these plans go up. About 60% of those customers used data that was carried over from the previous month (i.e. T-Mobile Data Stash and AT&T Rollover), that's a fairly decent sized increase from the 53% last year. J.D. Power also found that satisfaction was higher among those that had plans with rollover data, versus those that did not.
J.D. Power did reveal some other key findings in this study, which includes the fact that it is the younger customers that are driving demand for more customer-friendly data options. They also found that representatives in carrier stores were more attentive and helpful at full-service carriers (read: AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile) versus those of non-contract carriers. Full-service carrier stores got a score of 856, versus a 773 score for non-contract carriers. Finally, they also found that the average price of a phone has increased. At full-service carriers, it jumped from $247 to $261. Over at non-contract carriers it jumped just a dollar from $116 to $117. This is partly to due with phones getting more expensive and more and more people opting for the "better" smartphones that are priced around $500+.
Among the non-contract carriers, Consumer Cellular took home the top prize with a score of 852. That's not far behind AT&T, which is a bit surprising, seeing as non-contract carriers are usually far lower in scores. Behind Consumer Cellular was AT&T's own Cricket with a score of 827 and MetroPCS at 814. Both of which are ahead of the industry average of 803. Coming in last was Straight Talk with a score of 777.