J.D. Power and Associates Reports:
Overall, Wireless Carriers Reduce Dropped Calls, Failed Connections and Static,
Driving an Improvement in Call Quality Performance
Alltel, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon Wireless Each Rank Highest in Their Respective Segments
In Wireless Call Quality Performance
WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.: 27 August 2009 - As the wireless services industry continues to invest in network upgrades and more advanced technology, call quality performance has improved from six months ago, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2009 Wireless Call Quality Performance StudySM-Volume 2 released today.
The semiannual study measures wireless call quality, based on seven problem areas that impact overall carrier performance: dropped calls; static/interference; failed call connection on the first try; voice distortion; echoes; no immediate voicemail notification; and no immediate text message notification. Call quality issues are measured as problems per 100 (PP100) calls, where a lower score reflects fewer problems and higher quality. Call quality performance is examined in six regions: Northeast; Mid-Atlantic; Southeast; North Central; Southwest; and West.
The study finds that wireless carriers have reduced the number of connectivity issues, such as dropped calls, to 4 PP100 from 5 PP100 six months ago. Failed initial connections have declined to 3 PP100 from 4 PP100 during the same period. Wireless customers also report fewer audio problems, such as calls with static, which has decreased from 3 PP100 to just 2 PP100.
"As carriers continue to upgrade existing network infrastructure and create more robust coverage footprints, wireless customers are recognizing an improvement in performance," said Kirk Parsons, senior director of wireless services at J.D. Power and Associates. "As customers continue to increasingly stress wireless networks with growing call volume and data usage for texting, e-mailing and surfing the mobile Web, it is critical for carriers to keep enhancing network performance by maintaining and upgrading to next-generation technologies."
Regional rankings are as follows:
Verizon Wireless ranks highest in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast and Southwest regions in wireless call quality performance. Verizon performs particularly well with regard to limiting dropped calls, failed initial connections, and late or failed text and voice messages.
In a tie, Verizon Wireless, Alltel and T-Mobile rank highest in the West region. T-Mobile performs particularly well in reducing the number of problems with echoes and distortion, while Alltel performs particularly well in limiting the number of problems associated with late or failed messages.
In the North Central region, U.S. Cellular ranks highest for an eighth consecutive reporting period. Compared with the regional average, U.S. Cellular has fewer customer-reported problems with initial connections, static or interference, and late or failed voice message notification.
"Customers rely heavily on their mobile devices to stay connected, so carriers must provide their customers with a problem-free experience to keep them satisfied-particularly in such a highly competitive environment," said Parsons. "Customers have come to expect quality calling experiences, and wireless carriers must continue to deliver on their promises for faster downloading and increased bandwidth as customers continue to migrate to next-generation network technologies."
Wireless usage patterns continue to evolve, as more communications than ever before are now made via text messages. The study finds that wireless customers receive 112 text message notifications per month-nearly double the number of notifications from one year ago. In 2009, 32 percent of wireless calls are made or received in the home-a percentage that will likely continue to grow, as 27 percent of customers report using their wireless phone for all calls that they would have previously made or received using a traditional landline.
The 2009 Wireless Call Quality Performance Study-Volume 2 is based on responses from 25,512 wireless customers. The study was fielded between January and June 2009. For more information on customer satisfaction with wireless service, wireless retail sales, cell phone handsets, customer care, prepaid wireless service and business wireless service, please visit JDPower.com.
About J.D. Power and Associates
Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, performance improvement, Web intelligence and customer satisfaction. The company's quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually. For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit JDPower.com. J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.
About The McGraw-Hill Companies
Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP) is a leading global information services provider meeting worldwide needs in the financial services, education and business information markets through leading brands such as Standard & Poor's, McGraw-Hill Education, BusinessWeek and J.D. Power and Associates. The Corporation has more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Sales in 2008 were $6.4 billion. Additional information is available at http://www.mcgraw-hill.com/.