Verizon network still perceived as #1, says Cowen survey

Every quarter Cowen conducts a survey of wireless subscribers. And for its new 3Q report based on the survey results, Cowen found that Verizon is still holding on to its No. 1 spot as being perceived as the carrier with the best 5G network.

Respondents continue to see Verizon as having the best 5G network (38%) compared to T-Mobile’s 30% and AT&T 32%. Verizon’s 5G perception did fall from 41% from the prior survey. “Network perception continues to lag reality, and Verizon hopes to keep it that way as it feverishly tries to close the gap on T-Mobile’s network leadership,” wrote the Cowen analysts led by Gregory Williams.

T-Mobile maintained its #2 spot over AT&T, which the Un-Carrier took over last survey. The survey data was collected on Sept. 19-22, and 1,173 respondents participated.

5G deployments

The analysts noted that T-Mobile has a head start deploying 5G, having 235 million POPs covered on Ultra Capacity 5G (2.5 GHz) at the end of the second quarter, with plans to reach 260 million POPs by year end. This compares to AT&T’s 100 million 5G POPs covered by year end and Verizon’s 175+ million POPs by year end. “Essentially, T-Mobile has a network lead by one year if not more,” wrote Cowen.

However, many survey respondents didn’t seem to care that much about networks. A larger percentage of Verizon subscribers cared about network quality. But only about 17% of T-Mobile respondents choose the Un-Carrier for “Network Related” reasons for a third consecutive survey.

According to the survey, T-Mobile is winning on “price” which has become by far the most meaningful reason to switch any carrier (Figure 32).

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