When Verizon finally got the iPhone in January, it set the stage for a head-to-head comparison with the much-maligned AT&T iPhone for the first time. iPhone owners using AT&T's network, especially in New York and San Francisco, had long complained about spotty coverage on the Apple device.
But new findings from ChangeWave Research show customer satisfaction ratings for Verizon and AT&T iPhone 4 owners are about the same. Based on a survey of 4,068 consumers, 82% of Verizon iPhone users were "very satisfied" with their handset, compared to 80% of AT&T iPhone customers. At the same time, the study found Verizon continued to have the lowest dropped call rate among the four major carriers, and AT&T, the highest. When it came to the iPhone, Verizon users averaged only 1.8% of calls dropped in the last 90 days compared to 4.8% for AT&T customers.
The ChangeWave results roughly match up with findings published by Consumer Reports earlier this year showing the iPhone on AT&T's network provided faster data connections, while Verizon's had fewer dropped calls. That may go some way toward explaining why the rival carriers wound up with even satisfaction ratings for the iPhone.
The ChangeWave study pointed out that "Verizon is still in the early stages of its iPhone 4 offering to consumers. It remains to be seen how well the Verizon network performs as the number of Verizon iPhone 4 owners ramps up and inevitably puts more pressure on their system." To date, Verizon has been tight-lipped about how many iPhone customers it's signed up, but has assured that its network can handle the increased traffic from the device.
That's a good thing, because 46% of those who plan on buying an iPhone 4 in the future say they'll use Verizon as their service provider, compared to 27% who say they'll use AT&T. Some consumers may be holding off getting a Verizon iPhone until the latest model comes out, possibly as soon as June. Then a new set of Verizon-AT&T comparisons can begin for the iPhone 5, assuming the smartphone will be available on Verizon's network as well as AT&T's.