Cell phone usage patterns are changing dramatically, with ramifications for call quality, according to J.D. Power and Associates. The company conducts its surveys every six months.
J.D. Power ranked the largest cellular carriers in terms of call quality in each of six geographic regions. Verizon Wireless ranks highest in three regions, Alltel and T-Mobile in two, while U.S. Cellular ranks highest in one (rankings include ties).
Sprint/Nextel ranks above average in two of the six regions.
The absolute number of cell phone calls is going up. The percentage of wireless calls being made and received inside buildings, such as at home and work, for the first time exceeded those made outside (at 51 percent). The percentage of calls from vehicles dropped four points to 27 percent.
As calling patterns shift, the rate of problems with call quality is affected, depending on where the wireless call is made or received, J.D. Power found. For example, indoor wireless calls typically result in fewer problems when compared to calls placed outside as the frequency of use rises.
Also, wireless calls within a local calling area result in significantly lower problems compared to calls placed or received while roaming.
“While wireless providers have made great strides in improving the quality of calls, there appears to be an opportunity to provide better service in those calling situations where there is a higher incidence of quality problems, such as when roaming or driving,” said Kirk Parsons, senior director of wireless services at J.D. Power and Associates.