There’s a lot to consider when you’re choosing a new cell phone carrier and customer service is among the most important factors. If you’re signing a two-year contract with a wireless provider like Verizon, AT&T, Sprint or T-mobile, make sure you get the best service. Don’t waste your minutes (or your time) on hold.

If you read our recent post on choosing the best cell phone carrier, you’ll be familiar with the pros and cons of each of the carriers with regard to pricing and smartphone data plans. Now, it’s time to have a look at the carriers’ customer service. Let’s review some facts about the best customer service in the cellular market.


J.D. Power and Associates Report: What It Means To You

When it comes to ranking customer satisfaction, J.D. Power and Associates is considered the gold standard. Their wide-spread surveys earned them a reputation as the best measure of quality for a product or service. That’s why you see so many products and services proudly stamped with a J.D. Power and Associates award.


Color Photo of JD Power and Associates Awards

JD Power and Associates Report – How does your carrier rank?


According to the 2012 U.S. Wireless Customer Care review, J.D. Power and Associates ranked Verizon as having the best customer service, followed closely by Sprint. AT&T and T-Mobile followed, with AT&T being quite a bit higher than T-Mobile in their survey.

Out of a possible 800 points, Verizon scored 771 and Sprint followed with 764. AT&T earned 756 while T-Mobile trailed with 722.

Also noted in the report was the difference in customer satisfaction between tiered and unlimited data plans:

Overall satisfaction among full-service customers who currently subscribe to tiered data plans, which offer varying levels of data allotments, is 748 on a 1,000-point scale, compared with a significantly higher 775 among those who subscribe to the more traditional unlimited data plans. While satisfaction levels among tiered customers are lower across most of the contact channels, the largest gap in customer satisfaction scores between tiered and unlimited plans is in the telephone channel (34 points).”

Customers are significantly more satisfied with their service as long as they have an unlimited data plan. Remember, Sprint and T-Mobile both offer unlimited data plans, but their service doesn’t rival the vast 4G networks of Verizon or AT&T.


Customer Service Wait Times for Cell Phone Service

The Scambook Blog decided to do a bit of investigating of our own. We contacted the 4 carriers to see how long our wait times would be before reaching a customer service representative. Here’s how it timed out:


  • Verizon: 1 minute
  • Sprint: 3 minutes
  • AT&T: 2 minutes
  • T-Mobile: 2 minutes

As you can see, there isn’t much variation between the carriers. The only significant differences were the number of menus we had to go through to reach a real human being in the customer service department.
Sprint and T-Mobile had more menus, while Verizon and AT&T had a relatively easy process of transferring us to a customer service representative.

As JD Power and Associates notes:

Verizon Wireless ranks highest in wireless customer care performance among full-service carriers with an overall score of 771. Verizon Wireless performs particularly well in phone contacts that originate in the automatic response system (ARS) channel and are then transferred to a live customer service representative (CSR), and in phone calls made directly to a CSR.

The JD Power and Associates findings are consistent with our own and the menus someone has to navigate before reaching a customer service representative are one of the many ways customer service is gauged by the public.


Color Photo of Customer Service Woman

How Long Does It Take You to Reach a Customer Service Representative?

If you need help contacting any of the providers, don’t fret — here are the customer service numbers we used to reach someone in under 5 minutes.:

  • Verizon: (800) 331-0500
  • Sprint: (866) 866-7509 / (888) 211-4727
  • AT&T: (800) 331-0500
  • T-Mobile: (800) 866-2453 / (877) 453-1304


How Cell Phone Company Customer Service Impacts You

When you’re signing a new contract with a cell phone carrier, keep a few things in mind. Customer service is important because during that 2 year contract you’re about to sign, you’re bound to have some issues somewhere along the line.

Another thing to consider is what type of contract you’ll sign. How do you plan on using your phone? If you use a lot of data, Sprint and T-Mobile are your best bets.

If you need the absolute best service but don’t mind dealing with expensive tiered data plans, then Verizon and AT&T are best. Just make sure to keep price and cellular service in mind when signing any contract.


Let Us Know!

Do you have any grim or rewarding stories about cell phone customer service? What’s your experience been like with cell phone carriers? Let us know in the comments section! And as always, click here if you need to file a complaint about a cell phone service or anything else.


See Also

Which Cell Phone Carrier is Right for You?
Early Smartphone Upgrades: Are They Worth It?
Check Your Phone Bill Right Now: Cell Phone Scams That You Need to Know About

2 Responses

  1. Stephen Summers

    We recently decided to upgrade our AT&T 3 phone family plan primarily because our phones were very old and just didn’t perform as well as they used to. So AT&T proposed converting to I-Phone4’s for only .99 each, plus an activation fee with a two year contract. Total bill every month would be $130ish. My wife researched a few other providers and came up with ZACT and TING. I researched them and called them because I could not believe their plans. We ended up with ZACT. You have to buy their LG phones at a $99 cost each, but the monthly bill (I just paid the first month) is $16.67 !!!! We have more minutes and text than AT&T and we’ll save $1350 every year. No Contract – No penalties for going over your select plan (you simply go to the next very cheap bracket) and if you use less you are billed for less. They use the Sprint network. AT&T’s retention department didn’t even try after I outlined my new plan. The LG phone, while not an I-Phone, has some super features and has proven to be a great all-around phone. We love it. Good luck AT&T and you other money hungry providers.

  2. Ryan Johnson

    Hey, My name is Ryan Johnson. I am a 25 year old Entrepreneur from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Currently I use Solavei, which is the best phone service, in my opinion. They use T-mobile Network as their backbone and offer Unlimited Talk, Text, and 4G Data for only $49 a month. Right now until September 3rd, 2013 they are offering a special promotion which is $39 a month for the first three months. Solavei is a social commerce platform which pays it’s customers for word of mouth advertising, because they don’t pour billions of dollars into advertising like the mobile Giants; Att and Verizon.

    personal site:
    solavei site:

    P.S Maybe you can do a review of Solavei too! 🙂 I suppose you have a mobile phone. Who do you use?


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