A report from J.D. Power and Associates finds Verizon beat its competitors in overall call quality, while noting wireless usage patterns continue to evolve, as more communications than ever before are now made via text messages.
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 J.D. Power and Associates' "2009 Wireless Call
Quality Performance Study-Volume 2," released late last week.
Verizon Wireless was named best in call quality, ranking highest in the
Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast and Southwest regions. The report noted Verizon
performs particularly well with regard to limiting dropped calls, failed
initial connections, and late or failed text and voice messages.
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 found 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 the senior director of wireless services
at J.D. Power and Associates, Kirk Parsons. "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
The company found T-Mobile performs particularly well in reducing the number
of problems with echoes and distortion, Alltel performs particularly well in
limiting the number of problems associated with late or failed messages, and
U.S. Cellular had fewer customer-reported problems with initial connections,
static or interference, and late or failed voice message notification.
The report also noted wireless usage patterns continue to evolve, as more
communications than ever before are now made via text messages. The study found
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 J.D. Power
said is likely to 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.
"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."