Smartphone users are more likely to experience dropped calls and poor voice quality, according to a new report from J.D. Power and Associates.
The company's 2010 Wireless Call Quality Performance Study found that smartphone customers are nearly three times more likely to experience dropped calls than traditional mobile phone customers. They also report that smartphone customers experience problems at a rate that is six-per-100-calls greater than problems experienced by subscribers using lower-end handsets.
"As carriers continue to upgrade network infrastructure, expand coverage areas and improve data speeds, smartphone usage will continue to test network capacity," said Kirk Parsons, senior director of wireless services at J.D. Power and Associates. "Smartphones will continue to stress wireless networks with higher data usage for texting, e-mailing and Web surfing, so it is crucial for wireless carriers to enhance existing network speed and capacity, as well as to develop and upgrade to next-generation technologies."
Growth in smartphone subscribers caused call quality to drop overall. The company found that the number of dropped calls hit six per 100, compared with four per 100 calls six months ago. Calls with poor voice quality increased to 13 per 100, from 11 per 100 six months ago.
"Wireless customers rely on their phones to do everything from providing them with driving directions to sending picture messages, as well as placing calls, so carriers must provide their customers with a problem-free experience to keep them satisfied," Parsons said. "Wireless customers have higher expectations of their phones and the networks on which they operate than ever before. Carriers must continue to deliver on their promises for faster and more reliable connections as the number of customers using these advanced devices grows."
J.D. Power and Associates also ranked Verizon Wireless as the top operator in call quality. Verizon had fewer customer-reported problems with calls than other operators in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Southwest and West regions of the U.S. This is the 11th consecutive time Verizon has landed the top spot.
U.S. Cellular beat out Verizon in the North Central region, where the carrier ranked highest for the ninth consecutive time.