Customer satisfaction with wireless service overall retreats 1.4% to a score of 73 (out of 100), according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) Wireless Phone Service and Cell Phone Study 2021-2022.
Mobile network operators (MNOs) and full-service mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) are steady at 73 apiece. Satisfaction with value MVNOs also is unchanged yet still outperforms the other wireless categories with an ACSI score of 75. After a slight dip last year, customer satisfaction with cell phones is stable at 79.
“The industry’s overall stability was a bit surprising last year, but now we’re beginning to see the effects of consumers’ widespread dependence on wireless, and the results aren’t ideal,” says Forrest Morgeson, Assistant Professor of Marketing at Michigan State University and Director of Research Emeritus at the ACSI. “The 1.4% decline in customer satisfaction for wireless phone service is a pretty clear indicator of system load problems. While it’s easy to suggest this is merely a short-term glitch in the industry that will course-correct as individuals cut down on their screen time, it’s worth keeping an eye on this trend moving forward.”
Samsung stumbles, giving Apple a taste of the cell phone spoils
After topping all cell phone manufacturers last year, Samsung retreats 1% to an ACSI score of 80, allowing Apple, unchanged, to regain a share of the industry lead.
Google and Lenovo’s Motorola both plunge 4% to 77, ahead of LG, which tumbles 3% to an ACSI score of 75. Despite improving 1%, the group of smaller companies is last at 74.
Among brands, Samsung’s Galaxy S20 Ultra is America’s favorite smartphone with an ACSI score of 86. The LG Aristo 3 is next at 84, followed by Apple’s iPhone 11 Pro Max and Samsung’s Galaxy S20 and Galaxy S10, all with ACSI scores of 82. Google’s Pixel 4 and Samsung’s Galaxy S20 Plus finish at 81 apiece.
T-Mobile retakes top spot in MNO category
T-Mobile moves back into first place in the MNO category after soaring 3% to an ACSI score of 74.
Last year’s leaders, AT&T and Verizon, tie for second, each slipping 1% to 73. U.S. Cellular finishes last despite improving 3% to 71.
Verizon slips, still tops the field in network quality
On top of measuring customer satisfaction for mobile network operators, ACSI presents a unique rating of network quality based on customer evaluations of call quality (clarity and strength), call reliability (dropped calls), network coverage, and data speed.
Although Verizon slips 1%, it remains first place among MNOs with a network quality score of 78. AT&T is second, unchanged at 77, followed by T-Mobile, up 1% to 75. Despite a 1% bump, U.S. Cellular stays at the bottom with a score of 73.
Customers with plans ranging from $26 to $50 are most satisfied
As part of the ACSI survey, respondents are asked how much they spend each month for their wireless phone service. This information, combined with the customer satisfaction and customer loyalty data, shows which customer segments would have the greatest payoff if the customer experience were improved.
According to ACSI data, customers who spend $26 to $50 per month are the most satisfied with their wireless companies. These customers are tied for the most loyal with customers who spend more than $500 per month.
The most dissatisfied customers spend between $201 and $500 per month, while the least loyal customers spend $151 to $200 per month.
Optimum Mobile debuts atop full-service MVNOs
Optimum Mobile tops the full-service MVNO category in its first appearance in the Index with an ACSI score of 77.
Cricket Wireless (up 1%) and Xfinity Mobile (down 3%) tie for second at 76. Metro by T-Mobile is steady at 74, same as Spectrum Mobile, which slides 1%. Boost Mobile is last, unchanged at 71.
Consumer Cellular tops value MVNOs and all other carriers
Consumer Cellular leads value MVNOs and regains its wireless customer satisfaction crown after improving 1% to an ACSI score of 78.
Straight Talk Wireless (unchanged) and Tracfone (up 1%) are next at 76 each. Walmart Family Mobile makes massive strides, skyrocketing 7% to 74, just ahead of Simple Mobile (up 3%) and Total Wireless (down 3%), both at 73.
SafeLink Wireless slides 1% to 72, followed by Assurance Wireless, which surges 4% to 70. Q Link Wireless secures the bottom spot with an unchanged ACSI score of 68.
The ACSI Wireless Phone Service and Cell Phone Study 2021-2022 is based on interviews with 23,411 customers, chosen at random and contacted via email between April 2021 and March 2022.