iPhones retain lead in US smartphone satisfaction rankings

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The iPhone continues to be a satisfying hit with U.S. consumers.

For the sixth straight year, iPhones rank as the smartphone with the highest customer satisfaction score among U.S. consumers, according to new data released Monday.

T-Mobile remains the undisputed network operator for the fourth straight year, according to the survey from the American Customer Satisfaction Index, an economic analytics group.

Apple retained its No. 1 position with a satisfaction rating of 82 out of 100, a 1% increase from 2019. The rating is Apple’s best since 2012, when it received the highest-ever rating of 83, according to additional data obtained by Cult of Mac. Apple edged out Samsung by one percentage point.

iPhones edge out Samsung mobile phones among customer satisfaction
iPhones edge out Samsung mobile phones among customer satisfaction.
Photo: ACSI

While Samsung claimed the majority of unit sales in 2019, Apple retained its lead in customer satisfaction by a slight margin.

For customer satisfaction, Apple (+1% to 82) and Samsung (unchanged at 81) continue to wrangle as a small gain puts Apple on top. Apple’s overall iPhone revenue rose 8% year over year in the 2019 holiday quarter with strong sales for its iPhone 11 series, which offers advanced cameras and improved battery life. ACSI data show that Apple customers overall are more pleased with their device’s battery life compared to a year ago.

Samsung tops favorite individual phone brands

Among individual phones, Samsung dominated the customer satisfaction survey. But things boiled down to a two-way battle between Samsung and Apple, with 17 of the 18 models scoring 80 or higher made by one of the two manufacturers. Seven out of 10 customers surveyed bought either an Apple or Samsung device over the past year, ACSI reported.

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9 edged out Apple devices, topping the list with a score of 85. The Galaxy S9+ and Galaxy S10 registered a score of 84 each, tied with the iPhone XS Max. Apple’s iPhone 11‌ and iPhone 11 Pro Max both earned a score of 82, while the ‌iPhone 11 Pro‌ earned an 81.

Seven out of 10 customers surveyed bought either an Apple or Samsung device over the past year
Seven out of 10 customers surveyed bought either an Apple or Samsung device over the past year.
Photo: ACSI

T-Mobile first among mobile network operators

T-Mobile remains the undisputed network operator leader with an unchanged score of 76. A major reason for T-Mobile’s strong showing, according to customers, is the range of plans the carrier offers.

Sprint came in last in the survey with a rating of 66 out of 100. The study took place after the recent merger of T-Mobile and Sprint was finalized.

Behind T-Mobile, the two largest carriers retained second and third place: Verizon Wireless at 74 and AT&T at 73. While Verizon excels when it comes to overall quality, customers find the carrier’s value to be average compared with other network operators.

T-Mobile continues to dominate among consumers as the No. 1 mobile carrier in the U.S.
T-Mobile continues to dominate among consumers as the No. 1 mobile carrier in the United States.
Photo: ACSI

Verizon tops in network quality

Verizon placed first in overall network quality rankings, followed by AT&T and T-Mobile.

Most aspects of the customer experience for network operators have weakened year over year, but the changes are small. Despite a downturn, courtesy and helpfulness of store or service center staff continues to rate highest at 80.

Verizon holds on to first place with consumers as the mobile network with the best quality
Verizon holds on to first place with consumers as the mobile network with the best quality.
Photo: ACSI

For the annual survey, ACSI interviewed more than 27,000 consumers at random between mid-April 2019 and mid-March of this year. The survey measured customer satisfaction, expectations, and perceptions of quality and value.