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Wireless carrier satisfaction ranked by J.D. Power

J.D. Power ranked T-Mobile as the No. 1 wireless carrier for customer satisfaction, but Verizon and regional carriers scored well too.

National wireless carriers T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless topped the charts in customer satisfaction, while some regional carriers performed strongly in their core markets, according to a recent J.D. Power and Associates study.

In the study, customers ranked T-Mobile highest in five of the six U.S. regions, while Verizon ranked highest in four of the regions. In some regions, multiple carriers tied for satisfaction performance. T-Mobile shined in customer service, price and billing, while Verizon Wireless earned plaudits for its call quality and brand image.

Two regional providers also garnered the top satisfaction rating: U.S. Cellular in the North Central region and Alltel in the Southeast.

"In terms of quality, … all regional carriers know that if their networks aren't as good as the national guys, they're in trouble," William Ho, a Current Analysis analyst, wrote in an email. "This is why Alltel, U.S. Cellular and [Cincinnati Bell] have invested heavily in their infrastructure to ensure that customers don't leave because of the network."

Ho also noted that these local players have differentiated themselves by localizing their marketing strategies, offering customers more minutes for the money and focusing on regional calling plans, which national carriers have moved away from in recent years.

The study also found that among the almost 50% of households with shared-minute plans, overall customer satisfaction is higher and the likelihood that customers will switch to another service provider is lower.

J.D. Power and Associates collected 22,158 wireless user responses in March and June 2007 to tabulate information for volume two of its "2007 U.S. Wireless Contract Regional Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) Study."

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