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USA Smartphone Buyers Choosing Network Speed over Reliability

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US mobile network speed has grown significantly in importance from 25 percent of smartphone buyers considering a switch in carriers in Q4 2011 to 41 percent in Q4 2012, according to a survey by NPD Group. Network reliability and better coverage also grew in importance among those consumers.

"With more data-hungry applications and content hitting smartphones, consumers need to make sure they have a network that's fast enough to enhance their experience, no matter where they go," said Brad Akyuz, director, access practice, NPD Connected Intelligence. "Consumers are willing to break ties with a network that can't support their data needs and are leaning towards carriers that can provide enhanced data networks."

Verizon Wireless is the top choice among cellphone buyers when it comes to network speed, followed by AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile.

T-Mobile, even though being ranked fourth, was the only other carrier besides Verizon to increase customer perception of its network data speeds.

"Overall, Verizon Wireless receives high marks from consumers for everything from pricing and reliability to speed and device selection, and that sentiment continues to grow," said Akyuz. "Verizon operates the largest 4G network in the U.S. and has put a lot of marketing dollars behind its 4G LTE, which appears to be paying off. T-Mobile has also made strides in how consumers perceive their network speed. They were the only other carrier to gain ground."


The Smartphone Carrier Report data is sourced from the Access Adoption and Intent survey of 3,500 U.S. consumers from The NPD Group's online panel. The study was fielded in Q4 2012.


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