J.D. Power reported that there are more network problems than in previous years due to data problems. Even though Verizon Wireless had numerous 4G LTE outages, it ranked highest in a majority of regions. Data problems are caused by smartphones and frequent web connections.
The increase in data-related problems may be caused shifts in where wireless customers are using their devices and in the types of services they are accessing, reported J.D. Power.
Also, the rapid expansion of smartphone usage has also changed the ways in which wireless customers use their devices, which also impacts network quality.
On average, between July and December 2011, wireless customers say connected to the mobile web or used mobile email 20 times within a 48-hour period, which equal 300 mobile web connections per month, on average. This is an increase of 15 web connections per month in the previous six months.
Smartphone users send high volumes of calls, text messages and emails, which strains carrier networks more than traditional handsets or feature phones. Increased frequency of mobile video downloads also further exacerbates network strain.
For a 15th consecutive reporting period, Verizon Wireless ranked highest in the Northeast region. Verizon Wireless achieves fewer customer-reported problems with dropped calls, initial connections, transmission failures and late text messages, compared with regional average. Verizon Wireless also ranked highest in the Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Southwest and West regions.
In the North Central region, U.S. Cellular ranked highest for a 13th consecutive reporting period. Compared with the regional average, U.S. Cellular had fewer customer-reported problems with dropped calls, failed initial connections, audio problems, failed voice mails and lost calls.
The 2012 U.S. Wireless Network Quality Performance Study--Volume 1 is based on responses from 27,438 wireless customers. The study was fielded between July and December 2011.
Overall network performance is based on 10 problem areas that affect the customer experience: dropped calls; calls not connected; audio issues; failed/late voicemails; lost calls; text transmission failures; late text message notifications; Web connection errors; email connection errors; and slow downloads.
Carrier performance is examined in six regions: Northeast; Mid-Atlantic; Southeast; North Central; Southwest; and West