Monday, December 4, 2023

Who Sets the Bar? Market Force Measures Wireless Carriers in 2023

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ATLANTA, March 22, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The results are in! Market Force Information surveyed over 1,500 wireless subscribers across the nation to rate their most recent wireless service experience on a variety of factors.

Consumers gave top marks to T-Mobile and Mint Mobile: a clear indication that T-Mobile’s recent purchase of Ryan Reynolds’ Mint Mobile for $1.35 billion is a smart investment.

According to consumers, the best cell phone plan includes a reliable 5g network, unlimited data plan, unlimited talk and text, and bonus features like mobile hotspot access. The days of winning over customers with a coverage map are coming to an end. Savvy consumers are looking for the flexibility to choose a prepaid plan or postpaid plan and option to bring your own phone or purchase the latest iOS or android devices either outright or on a payment plan. Consumers want the best wireless plan from the best carrier, while ultimately being mindful of their monthly phone bill.

Respondents have indicated a shift away from full-service wireless carriers to less expensive and more flexible offerings. The big three carriers, Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile, saw reported market share declines from 75% collectively in 2018 to 70% in 2022. Of the three major carriers, T-Mobile fared the best, increasing market share by close to 9% while the other two carriers lost ground.

T-Mobile also fared the best in new customer acquisition and lowest reported plan cost. Among their peers, T-Mobile customers were least likely to change phone plan providers.

Of the smaller cellular carriers, relative newcomers including Mint Mobile, Spectrum and Xfinity grew market share faster than their peers thanks to a combination of low-cost phone plans and bundled services working in their favor.

“With the impact of inflation, value is certainly an important driver for both customer acquisition and retention,” says Scott Griffith, Market Force’s CMSO.

What Drives Consumer Choice for Wireless Carriers?

The data shows value and quality of service as the number 1 and 2 drivers of customer satisfaction with their current cell phone service carrier. Based on who is winning most new customers, it is clear that consumers are shifting into cell phone plans that offer similar features and quality for less money on a monthly basis. Special promotions like free device upgrades, unlimited plans, more than one line, data speed, streaming service perks, mobile Wi-Fi hotspot access, and family plans all add to the ever-changing landscape that wireless providers will have to navigate in 2023.

The data indicates that big contract providers (Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile) will face significant risk of customer attrition in the coming years. Slightly more than 50% of T-Mobile customers suggest they are very likely to re-sign with the provider, whereas AT&T and Verizon are seeing much lower re-signing rates (36% and 41%, respectively).

Smaller and non-contract/pay-as-you-go providers now offer a better customer experience and receive more customer accolades, as expressed through higher satisfaction ratings and greater proportions of customers who would recommend them. 

Our results suggest that non-traditional phone carrier providers are gaining popularity because they have a better value proposition for the customer, relative to the big cellular providers. The non-contract/pay-as-you-go players have long held more price competitive positions, but now they also provide a comparable quality of service and they’re easier to do business with, providing a good onboarding experience, improved availability, and options for help.

Mint Mobile (78%), Consumer Cellular (73%) and Straight Talk (72%) all score well on our Composite Loyalty Index (CLI), which measures a customer’s satisfaction combined with the likelihood they will recommend the brand to others. Each of these providers fare significantly better than any of the major carriers on the CLI. Scores for T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T are 45%, 34% and 29%, respectively, which illustrates challenges to come.

Relatively speaking, the up-and-coming brands have the majority (if not all) of their customers on plans that cost less than $100 per month including taxes and fees, whereas the major providers have 52% or more customers spending more than $100 per month. Price combined with quality of service and perceived ease of doing business is steering consumers and influencing their choices.

More About the Wireless Carriers Study

To get access to the full study, visit

Brands featured in the study included: AT&T, Consumer Cellular, Cricket, Google Fi, Metro by T-Mobile, Mint Mobile, Spectrum Mobile, Straight Talk, T-Mobile, Tracfone, Verizon, and Xfinity Mobile. 

About Market Force Information

Market Force Information provides a robust framework for measuring and improving employee experience, operational performance, customer experience, and financial KPIs. Market Force delivers solutions for restaurants, big box and specialty retail, grocery, petro-convenience, hospitality, travel, telecom, technology, energy, education, health and wellness, movie studios and theatres, fitness, financial services, gaming, CPG, alcohol and tobacco, pharm, government agencies and more.

SOURCE Market Force Information

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