Are Verizon iPhone Users Happier Than AT&T's Users?

The Verizon iPhone resulted in one of the most highly anticipated marriages in the tech industry, but has the union lived up to the hype? With a few months of experience to go with, ChangeWave conducted a poll to find out. Are Verizon iPhone users more satisfied than AT&T users? The answer turns out to be a little different from what actual user experience suggests.

First, here are the customer satisfaction results:

verizon_vs_att_iphone4 cht1.gif

Some might find this surprising. Verizon iPhone owners are barely happier with their experience than AT&T iPhone users -- 82% to 80%. Yet, the Verizon crowd appears to have more reason than the AT&T crowd to be satisfied if you look at dropped calls, according to the same ChangeWave poll:

dropped_calls_verizon_att_iphone4 ch2.gif

On one hand, this means that 2.67 times as many calls* were dropped with AT&T than with Verizon. The result implies that Verizon users should be far more satisfied with their devices than AT&T customers.

On the other hand, if we're looking at strict percentages, the difference amounts to a mere 3% more AT&T calls that were dropped. Recall, the difference in satisfaction was just 2%. Perhaps those 2% of respondents are the ones who experienced most of those 3% more dropped calls on AT&T.

Of course, customer satisfaction involves more than just dropped calls. So even if Verizon's network is performing a little better for their customers than AT&T's network, other factors could be keeping satisfaction close. For example,  maybe Verizon users are frustrated that they can't talk and surf the internet simultaneously -- a feature provided by AT&T's network.

With all that said, Verizon's future with the iPhone does appear to be brighter than AT&T's. ChangeWave also asked future iPhone 4 buyers which carrier they planned on using:

future_apple_iphone4_buyers cht3.gif

This isn't exactly a death sentence for AT&T, as fewer than half of respondents said they plan on choosing Verizon. But if those undecided future customers choose carriers in a similar proportion to those who provided an answer, then Verizon will capture close to two-thirds of the market for future iPhone users. That result would put a pretty big dent in AT&T's subscriber base and future growth.

*Note: Initially, this analysis indicated that the second chart was about how many respondents experienced dropped calls, but the poll actually asks how many dropped calls were experienced. As a result, the wording was tweaked.

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Daniel Indiviglio was an associate editor at The Atlantic from 2009 through 2011. He is now the Washington, D.C.-based columnist for Reuters Breakingviews. He is also a 2011 Robert Novak Journalism Fellow through the Phillips Foundation. More

Indiviglio has also written for Forbes. Prior to becoming a journalist, he spent several years working as an investment banker and a consultant.

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