T-Mobile starts climbing J.D. Power’s network quality rankings, but Verizon remains on top

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As usual, Verizon remains king of mobile network quality, according to J.D. Power’s most recent analysis of common mobile voice, SMS and data problems on U.S. carrier networks. But below the top spot, some interesting things are happening.

Verizon didn’t run the board as it usually does. In the mid-Atlantic — one of the six geographical regions J.D. Power measures — AT&T took the top slot. And even more interestingly, T-Mobile has started challenging AT&T for the number-two ranking in some key places.

JD Power Network quality 2014

T-Mobile ranked just behind Verizon in the Northeast, with an average of 11 problems per 100 mobile interactions, compared to 10 for Verizon. In the West, Verizon’s lead was far greater, with an average of 10 problems per 100 mobile interactions compared to T-Mobile’s 13, but the score was enough to beat out AT&T.

It makes sense that T-Mobile would be strongest in the Northeast and on the West Coast given its urban market focus, but T-Mo’s improvement and AT&T’s showing in the Mid-Atlantic are both definitely worth noting. Typically, these network quality reports are fairly predictable: Verizon on top, AT&T right behind and T-Mobile and Sprint fighting it out for the number-three spot. That’s exactly how the rankings fell last year.

Though network quality is the big one, T-Mobile has also been gaining ground in J.D. Power’s other surveys. It ranked number one in customer service and number two in customer purchase experience after placing dead last among the big four operators in both surveys last year.

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