Survey: Sprint, Verizon Have Happiest Customers

Are you happy with your wireless provider? If you have Sprint or Verizon, chances are the answer is yes, according to a new survey.

Sprint Nextel Corp. is now tied with Verizon Wireless for having the most satisfied customers of all wireless networks, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index. The survey found Sprint and Verizon Wireless tied with a rating of 72. The ASCI said throughout the history of the survey Sprint has risen from 15 points below the second worst in the category, to now claim a share of the industry lead.

AT&T and T-Mobile saw declines in their scores, with AT&T scoring a 66, down from 69 in 2010, and its worst score in the past five years. It ranked the lowest of the four national cell service carriers. T-Mobile scored a 70, down from 73 last year. According to the survey, AT&T and T-Mobile have seen decreases in customer satisfaction and in customer service since talk of their proposed merger began.

"It is common to find a reduction in customer satisfaction after mergers, but it is rare for customer satisfaction to drop ahead of a merger," Claes Fornell, founder of the ASCI and author of "The Satisfied Customer: Winners and Losers in the Battle for Buyer Preference," said in a statement. "Assuming the deal is approved, it remains to be seen if a much larger AT&T can regain the strength of its customer relationships."

However, the most satisfied wireless customers are those with contracts from TracFone Wireless and U.S. Cellular, both scoring a 77.

The ASCI National index is released each quarter, and factors in scores from more than 225 companies in 47 industries, and from government agencies over the previous four quarters.