Carrier Support Showdown: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Tested

AT&T

In-Store Support: A-

We visited our first AT&T store at 7 p.m. EST on a weekend and waited 20 minutes before Wayne approached us. Despite the small crowd, our customer service rep took the time to demonstrate how to upload a photo to Facebook, making sure we could repeat the steps on our own. He then correctly explained that in order to tether our phone we would have to sign up for a 4GB tethering plan at $45 a month.

When it came to our battery-life question, the AT&T associate told us to reduce our display brightness, before telling us to look into purchasing a secondary battery or battery charger, skimpy but certainly useful advice.

We walked into our second AT&T store at roughly 8 p.m. on a weekend and were immediately greeted by Kim. After showing us how to upload photos to Facebook, she informed us that tethering our phone would require signing up for AT&T’s tethering plan. On our battery question, Kim correctly suggested we turn off our phone’s radios when not using them and reduce our screen brightness.

Online Support: B+

AT&T’s website was easy to navigate and find answers. After entering our account information, we were promptly connected with Cameron via live chat. He told us how to set up a tethering plan and provided us with a user manual for uploading our photos to Facebook. He also helpfully mentioned that apps that update in the background will drain battery and told us to update them less often. The AT&T rep went on to rightly point out that using our phone’s 4G connection would put a strain on our battery’s performance, but he failed to tell us that using Wi-Fi would be a better choice.

Phone Support: B

When we made our first call to AT&T, we were put on hold for roughly 2 minutes before being connected with Jacob. While friendly, he was clearly in a rush. He accurately explained how to tether our phone. When it came to our battery life question, he correctly told us to turn off our Atrix 4G’s Bluetooth, wireless and GPS, and to reduce our display brightness.

To upload our photos to Facebook, Jacob told us to simply follow the app’s instructions, something he said he does all the time. This advice isn’t wrong, but he neglected to mention the option to upload pics directly from our phone’s Gallery app.

During our second call, we waited on hold for less than a minute before Jesus in Nevada picked up. While he was personable, Jesus’ thick accent made understanding his advice difficult. It didn’t help matters when he gave us a circuitous explanation for uploading our photos to Facebook, which involved opening the camera app instead of the photo gallery. And while the rep accurately answered our tethering question, he couldn’t provide any tips for improving our device’s battery life besides checking the phone’s notification bar for running apps.

Overall Grade: B+

AT&T’s in-store and Web associates were fairly well informed, offering accurate and friendly advice. The carrier’s phone-based support wasn’t as helpful, but overall AT&T offered the best service.

Best and Worst Carrier Customer Service

AUTHOR BIO
Daniel P. Howley
Daniel P. Howley
A newspaper man at heart, Dan Howley wrote for Greater Media Newspapers before joining Laptopmag.com. He also served as a news editor with ALM Media’s Law Technology News, and he holds a B.A. in English from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.
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  1. TheFugitive Says:

    How much did ATT pay for this?

  2. John V Says:

    I’m an AT&T employee. It is an entertaining article and nice that we “won” but with so few data points the results are NOT the least bit valid.

  3. Eag Says:

    I have been an AT&T customer for nearly 10 years now, and theyve been godawful for every single one of them. People in store and on the phone are generally very kind and courteous, but that doesn’t mean that they’ve been succesful in fixing any problems that I have had. Further, I still can’t make a call on their network after 10 years that is longer than 45 minutes without having service cut out on me at least once – and that is if and only if I’m in a static position (and I do mean standing completely still).
    Why not switch? My friends on other networks fare no better. It’s a piss poor oligopoly with poor customer choice and a lose-lose for passable service.

  4. Kate Says:

    When I have questions or problems, I need to know that the carrier can actually help! And that means, a similar experience no matter how I contact them. Great article – just a peek into the wireless world. I like it!

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