Hating Your Mobile Carrier, But Is It That Bad?
July 12, 2013

Hating Your Mobile Carrier, But Is It That Bad?

If you are 100 percent satisfied with your mobile carrier, please raise your hand. Anyone? Anyone?? Yes, there are probably a few people that have few complaints. There are likely those who have feature phones and only use it to make the rare call, those tweens who are happy to be grown up and have a phone at all (and don’t pay the bill), and the odd persons who just is so upbeat that they don’t  complain about much.

For the rest of us, hating our mobile carrier is part of life. The fees are high, the service can be spotty, and the features never live up to the promises. This is par for the course today with mobile phones, and yet most of us stick with what we have.

AT&T had actually fended off an exodus in 2007 when it was the first carrier to bring out the iPhone. This exclusivity no doubt helped keep it the number two carrier after Verizon. But, as the iPhone went to other carriers, AT&T suffered a bit, hitting a low point around 2009.

However, according to CNN, AT&T isn’t really that bad. This week it was reported that according to four independent studies AT&T’s 4G-LTE network has been rated faster than Verizon’s. This reportedly includes tests done by RootMetrics, Consumer Reports, PCMag and PCWorld/TechHive, which noted that AT&T’s 4G-LTE is, in fact, the nation’s fastest, at least when it comes to data.

These tests found that AT&T reached download speeds of up to 19 Megabits per second, and that AT&T was also consistently between 4 and 6 Mbps faster than Verizon’s and T-Mobile’s 4G networks, while as fast at double or triple those from Sprint’s speeds.

Now, if you’re one who downloads all sorts of “stuff” on a phone, uses a lot of apps, sends and receives photos and videos – well, then this might matter.

Those independent tests did find that coverage area is also a factor, and here Verizon (which this reporter still uses and, to be blunt, often times hates) tops the list of all four studies. All four studies reported noted that Verizon’s network still is more reliable than AT&T in call connections and 4G availability.

What this means is that AT&T is good when it works, but Verizon might be better overall. And none of that matters to those who get spotty signals, which brings us back to the love/hate relationship we have with our carriers.

All four major carriers, as well as some of the lesser players, continue to roll out commercials that note these facts of “most reliable service,” or “fastest speeds.” But does any of that really matter if you — as an individual user — don’t get the services promised in those ads?

The fact is that the mobile phone industry continues to face a crisis, namely one of bandwidth, and these carriers can barely handle the data traffic – not to mention voice – that is being transmitted through the airwaves that in theory we, as citizens, supposedly own. The carriers continue to hype how good the services are, but it should be noted that AT&T and Verizon have opted to put tiered data plans in place as a way to limit the usage.

Perhaps if the carriers actually invested more in infrastructure instead of ads claiming how much better they are, then the rivals that would solve part of the problem. Of course, business doesn’t always work that way. Those ads are there as much to remind existing customers why they shouldn’t switch to another service; but, let’s be honest, don’t most of know that we’d probably hate the next carrier just as much?

Image Credit: Thinkstock.com

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Email


Peter Suciu is a freelance writer and has covered consumer electronics, technology, electronic entertainment and the fitness sports industry for more than 15 years. In that time his work has appeared in more than three dozen publications including Newsweek, PC Magazine and Wired. His work has also appeared on Forbes.com, Inc.com, Cnet.com, and Fortune.com. Peter is a regular writer for redOrbit.com.

Send Peter an email