Verizon Wireless Paces Mobile Phone Call Quality, Survey Finds

How well does your carrier rate? J.D. Power and Associates’ survey covers seven key performance areas.

The wholesale shift to 3G networks by mobile phone service providers is leading to improved call quality across the United States, with Verizon (NYSE: VZ) Wireless leading the way, according to a report released Thursday by J.D. Power and Associates.

Verizon recorded the highest call quality performance in five of the six regions surveyed.

“Wireless providers have clearly made great strides in improving call quality,” says Kirk Parsons, senior director of wireless services at the market research firm. “One key advantage to this [3G] technology upgrade is that carriers can greatly increase the capacity of handling voice and data transmissions with existing network equipment. As more wireless subscribers use cell phones that are 3G-enabled, the rate of call quality problems decreases significantly.”

J.D. Power studied seven items that impact carrier performance: dropped/disconnected calls; static/interference; failed connection on the first try; voice distortion; echoes; no immediate voice mail notification; and no immediate text message notification. Nearly 30,000 wireless users from across the country responded to the survey.

Verizon fared the best in the Northeastern, Mid-Atlantic, Southeastern, Southwestern, and Western regions, although it shared the top position with Qwest in the Western region. Verizon and the companies that placed highest in the rankings generally used advanced CDMA technologies supplied by Qualcomm, although J.D. Power didn’t break down infrastructure architectures used by carriers.

Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S) finished in last place in the Mid-Atlantic and Southwestern regions, although the survey didn’t break out which brands — Sprint or Nextel — were counted in the survey. Sprint has been struggling to integrate Nextel into its network. Other service providers such as Cingular Wireless and T-Mobile are deploying advanced infrastructures.

Even so, mobile phone subscribers are not only getting improved service, but they can look forward to continuing improvements. The J.D. Power study indicates there’s a correlation between the provision of high-quality service and retention of subscribers.

“With an increasingly competitive environment and an increase in the number of services used in conjunction with a cell phone, carriers that offer superior network quality are more likely to attract new customers and increase customer retention,” Parsons says. “In fact, improving network quality is a beneficial financial incentive for wireless carriers, as customers experiencing at least one call quality problem are almost four times more likely to definitely switch carriers in the future.”

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~ by spyaokid on March 29, 2008.

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