Whether you've got a question about your cellphone account or just want to figure out a feature on your smartphone, you want and fast accurate help from your wireless carrier. Based on our testing, you can expect prompt responses that give you all the information you need when you turn to Verizon for help.
Verizon tops our customer-support rankings for cellular carriers on the strength of its across-the-board performance answering our questions online, through social media and over the phone. You're just as likely to get solid answers from Verizon's phone-support staff as you are through the numerous documents and tools Big Red makes available through its website.
Last year's champ, AT&T, took a tumble, the result of an AI-powered robo-operator that could stand to be less artificial and more intelligent. This new feature added an extra layer of complexity to our tech-support calls, marring an otherwise solid showing by AT&T.
Instead, T-Mobile leapt over AT&T on the strength of prompt responses, while Sprint slumped after it kept giving us inaccurate answers to our tech-support questions. Sprint finished behind Cricket, which turned in the best performance of any prepaid carrier in our rankings.
Here's a closer look at how each carrier fared in our tech-support showdown.
1st Place: Verizon
You name the venue — online, social media, telephone — and Verizon aces the test. We're particularly impressed with the carrier's online resources, including device simulators that can tackle many questions you might have about your phone.
2nd Place: T-Mobile
T-Mobile service reps are fast and friendly. Only a few minor complaints — T-Mobile buries support links on its website and its reps could give more precisely worded instructions — kept the Uncarrier from challenging Verizon for the customer support crown.
3rd Place: AT&T
An unhelpful automated operator stood in the way of AT&T repeating as our customer-support champ. Still, the carrier has plenty to offer customers looking for answers, from a helpful support site to quick response times.
4th Place: Cricket
Cricket finished as the top prepaid carrier in our customer service rankings, thanks to its very thorough website. It's also one of the few discount carriers to offer online chat. The company is responsive to social media questions; just don't expect a detailed response.
5th Place (Tie): Sprint
Sprint is plenty responsive and extremely polite whether you contact the company via social media or over the phone. The trouble is, the carrier kept giving us inaccurate information, even on topics its reps should have known.
5th Place (Tie): Boost
Friendly, speedy help puts Boost on a par with its parent company Sprint. While our phone calls didn't always yield the most accurate responses, we could easily find what we were looking for on Boost's easy-to-navigate website.
7th Place: MetroPCS
MetroPCS has made a lot of positive changes since the last time we tested customer support, regarding both addition (its website now has a good library of support documents for specific phones) and subtraction (an underperforming chat feature is gone). But its phone support still remains a little too spotty to recommend.
8th Place: Virgin
Virgin's online site takes the starring role in the discount carrier's customer-support offerings, and it offers some pretty helpful information. Phone support is severely lacking, though, as Virgin's phone reps had a difficult time answering our questions.
9th Place: Straight Talk
Only the live-chat feature and device-support documents on Straight Talk's website show any signs of life. Otherwise, the carrier swings and misses on tech support, due to slow responses on social media and unsatisfying interactions over the phone.