There may be a good reason we haven't heard as many jokes this year about AT&T involving dropped calls or marginal coverage. Apparently the former punch line has enjoyed a brand rebound. According to the YouGov BrandIndex that tracks consumer attitudes toward the major carriers, AT&T saw the greatest improvement in public perception among the big four this year. While Verizon maintains a comfortable lead in brand equity, and Sprint still runs second, AT&T broke free from its place in the cellar of brand reputation, shared with T-Mobile, during the summer months.
On YouGov’s BrandIndex, Verizon consistently achieved a score of 70 through much of 2012. Sprint enjoyed a big but temporary brand boost early in the year -- scaling from 60 to the mid 70s, actually surpassing Verizon for one month. The burst of positive consumer feeling appears to have been in response to its announcement of 4G LTE rollouts. Nevertheless, Spirnt settled quickly back into an index rating in the mid-to-low 60s throughout the rest of the year and is currently at 63.
AT&T and T-Mobile contested the dubious distinction of being the least-favored carrier brand for much of the first half of the year, with both trading places with brand index scores in the mid-40s, well below Sprint and Verizon. But in June, perhaps also in response to its own 4G marketing push, AT&T broke away from T-Mobile and is now at 53.