Verizon Has Best 4G Wireless Network

Except in the Midwest, a survey says. But do consumers even care?

Verizon Has Best 4G Wireless Network Photo (cc) by Idaho National Laboratory

A new study of wireless carrier quality by J.D. Power and Associates shows “customers who use 4G LTE-enabled devices experience fewer data-related issues, especially with slow connection speeds.”

Translation? Stuff loads faster than average on phones tapping that network technology, instead of the older tech known as 3G. And Verizon’s got the best network in all regions except the Midwest, where it ranks a close second to U.S. Cellular.

But according to another study, most consumers don’t really care.

CNET wrote about a separate survey by the analysts at Piper Jaffray that found, “Nearly 47 percent of those surveyed don’t feel they need access to a 4G LTE network, while another 26 percent said they thought all 4G LTE networks were largely the same.”

Those who do have an opinion rank the carriers’ 4G networks this way:

  1. Verizon Wireless
  2. AT&T
  3. Sprint
  4. T-Mobile

But that only matches JDP’s findings in five states: Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas. The rankings elsewhere are – pun intended – all over the map.

It’s good news for those competitors that consumers don’t care or understand who’s best – and good news for the consumers themselves, because 4G LTE costs more.

“The average monthly reported wireless bill among 4G LTE customers is $6 more than the average for smart phone customers ($131 vs. $125, respectively),” the JDP study says.

Most of the hype over the 4G LTE network likely stems from news on the iPhone 5, which is expected to feature that connection. Many popular Android devices already do.

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