Consumer Reports

Love the iPhone, hate the iCarrier

Dec. 6, 2010 at 4:54 PM ET

Consumer Reports readers are pretty happy with their iPhones, but they aren’t nearly so happy with AT&T, the only cell phone carrier for the Apple phone.

AT&T ranked last in a survey of 58,000 Consumerreports.org readers due to be released Tuesday, and the magazine didn’t pull any punches in summarizing its findings.

“This carrier scored lowest in satisfaction in almost all cities in our survey and was the worst-rated in almost all other respects,” the authors wrote.

Ouch.

Consumers’ readers were much more favorable toward the phone itself. The latest model, the iPhone 4, received high marks for display, phone navigation, web browsing and battery life, among other things.

Consumer Reports said the iPhone did well in its tests as well, but the report’s authors noted that Apple’s smart phone faces a growing list of strong competitors. Those include the HTC Evo 4G and the Samsung Galaxy S models.

When it came to carriers, the magazine said Verizon Wireless and Sprint were about even in overall satisfaction, followed closely by T-Mobile. But the authors said regional operator U.S. Cellular, which only does business in 26 states, was the top-rated carrier for contract service.

The magazine also offered some tips for cutting cell phone costs. Among them: consider a family plan, check out employee discounts and buy your phone at warehouse store Costco.

The full story is due out on the website Tuesday, but Consumer Reports provided msnbc.com with a copy ahead of time. It also summarized its findings in this blog post.

Update: A spokeswoman representing AT&T responded to the Consumer Reports story, saying that the company believes it has the fastest mobile broadband network and that its dropped call rate is not far off from the industry leader.

"We take this seriously and we continually look for new ways to improve the customer experience," the statement read.

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