Customer satisfaction with AT&T, T-Mobile drops

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NEW YORK—Sprint Nextel Corp., once dead last in customer satisfaction among the Big 4 national wireless carriers, now has the happiest subscribers, along with long-time leader Verizon Wireless, according to a survey released Tuesday.

The American Customer Satisfaction Index also shows tentative declines in customer satisfaction at the other two big carriers, AT&T Inc. and T-Mobile USA. That comes as AT&T has agreed to buy T-Mobile USA for $39 billion in a deal that could close next year.

Sprint and Verizon Wireless both rate a 72 for customer satisfaction in the ACSI survey, which polled 8,000 households in the first quarter. For Sprint, that’s a big jump from a score of 56 three years ago, while Verizon’s score has been steady. Sprint CEO Dan Hesse has made improvements in customer service a centerpiece of his turnaround plan for the troubled company. Sprint’s score includes subsidiaries Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile, which sell plans without two-year contracts.

ACSI gave AT&T a score of 66, down from 69 last year. It’s the company’s worst score since 2006, the year before it started carrying the iPhone. It’s the lowest-ranked of the four national carriers after being surpassed by Sprint last year.

T-Mobile’s score was 70, down from 73 points last year.

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