Sprint and Verizon take top wireless quality honors

CDMA for the call-quality win? The annual J.D. Power & Associates survey of wireless service quality has been released, and Verizon, US Cellular, and Sprint Nextel -- that's right, Sprint -- took top honors. The survey evaluated wireless call quality as measured in the number of problems (dropped connections, echoes and distortion, slow voice mail / text notification, static, or failure to connect) per 100 calls.

Service is, for J.D. Power's purposes, divided into six regions, and US Cellular stands alone in the North Central part of the country, winning its seventh consecutive nod there. Verizon won everywhere else (including its ninth consecutive best-of nods in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions), tying in the West with Sprint Nextel.

The survey, which looked at usage between July and December of last year, found that overall everyone's mobile service is improving, with just 5 problems per 100 calls separating the best and worst services. And Americans are noticing, with 27% telling surveyors that they have dropped their land lines entirely in favor of their mobile handsets. The survey also noted a major increase in the number of text messages the average user receives each month -- 98, up from 47 in the previous survey.

Needless to say, Sprint was happy to help spread the word, issuing a press release giving credit for the win to the company's high-profile attempts to improve customer experience. And hey, did you know they're going to be offering the Palm Pre soon? "Not only are our wireless networks performing very well, but we're also launching innovative devices, like the highly anticipated Palm Pre, on America's most dependable 3G network," said Sprint CEO Dan Hesse.

Survey results for all six regions are available from J.D. Power's site.

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