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


In-Store Support: C+

We visited our first Sprint store at 4 p.m. EST on a weekday. With the store nearly empty, Krystal was standing by ready to help. She patiently explained how to upload our photos to Facebook. When we asked our battery-life question, she told us we should turn off our Bluetooth and wireless services. She then noticed that we had installed Advanced Task Killer on our phone and proceeded to uninstall it, correctly explaining that the program would reduce our battery life more than help it. For our tethering question, Krystal incorrectly stated that we could not tether our EVO to our notebook.

At our second Sprint location, we waited about 10 minutes before Felix offered his assistance. He told us that improving an Android phone’s battery life was impossible, and instead told us our best bet was to purchase a second battery to bring with us when we travel. Despite this obvious sales pitch, Felix went on to satisfactorily answer both our Facebook photo and Wi-Fi tethering questions.

Online Support: D

Sprint’s website is extremely clean and easy to navigate. Each device has its own support page complete with FAQs, video tutorials and troubleshooting guides. Unfortunately, our conversation with chat specialist Quinn was extremely confusing. Quinn spent the bulk of our conversation telling us to upload photos to Facebook by connecting our EVO to our notebook and accessing the images through Windows Explorer. Uploading the photos via our phone’s gallery or Facebook app would have been far quicker.

Quinn also provided little information for improving our battery life beyond closing apps, not using vibration mode too often and fully charging our phone. The most disappointing part of our chat was when, instead of explaining how to properly tether our phone to our notebook, Quinn told us to call . . . technical support.

Phone Support: A

On our tests, Sprint’s biggest strength was its phone support. We made our first call at noon on a weekday. After navigating a short menu tree, we started talking with Ryan from the Philippines. Throughout our 24-minute call, Ryan remained both patient and personable, offering the most accurate answers for our questions of any representative. His answers for our Facebook and tethering queries were spot-on, and he gave us a tutorial on how to best improve our phone’s battery life, including turning off its wireless radios and reducing our display brightness.

Neiko from Florida, who answered our call in about a minute, was also very helpful. He quickly answered our Facebook uploading query and walked us through the proper steps for tethering our phone. Neiko also told us to that the best way to improve our battery life was to disable our radio antennas and reduce our screen brightness.

Overall Grade: C+

Sprint’s phone support was top-notch, but its Web and in-store support have fallen off since last year.

Best and Worst Carrier Customer Service

Daniel P. Howley
Daniel P. Howley
A newspaper man at heart, Dan Howley wrote for Greater Media Newspapers before joining 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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