Examining the past six months in consumer perception criteria such as quality, satisfaction and willingness to recommend, it appears that AT&T and T-Mobile will need to translate increased scale and combined networks into a meaningful improvement for consumers in order to gain ground on industry leader Verizon Wireless.
The AT&T announcement comes at a time when there has been quite a bit of consumer perception movement in the wireless field. Category perception leader Verizon Wireless has been recently trending down on recommend scores since the middle of February. Since Valentine's Day, its willingness to recommend score has dropped nearly 16 points from 56 to 40.5 as of this past Friday. (March 18th).
Since the end of January, AT&T's recommend score has trended positively, from 5.6 to its current 17.2.
The willingness to recommend score gap between Verizon and AT&T is the closest its been since the beginning of the year, but the distance is still quite wide: more than 23 points.
T-Mobile had been skirting between scores of 7 to 9, recently climbing to 13.4.
When it comes to satisfaction, T-Mobile has made some recent strides, even surpassing AT&T for 45 days beginning February 8th until about a week ago. AT&T is currently staging a satisfaction comeback on the back of the iPad 2 release, having dipped during February, but now just a couple of points ahead of T-Mobile at 19. Verizon has taken a little dip recently of five points, but they've remained high.