REPORT: Cellphone use in Parker

The results of Parker Live’s recent cellphone survey are in, and – as you might predict – the two main players are Verizon and AT&T. Which is better in the Parker area? What else can we learn from this data? Let’s find out.

Q1: What cellphone carrier do you use?

The most popular carrier by far here is Verizon. With 79% of the vote compared to 20% for AT&T, almost 4 out of every 5 cellphone users in the Parker area use Verizon. Anecdotal accounts tell us this is because people believe Verizon provides the best service. We’ll find out whether they’re right by asking how satisfied they are with the coverage they get in the area.

Q2: How happy are you with the coverage you get in the Parker area?

The split here is 79% who say they’re either moderately or very happy with the coverage by their provider’s cell towers in the Parker area, and only 21% who say they’re not happy. But the most interesting answer comes when you look at Verizon customers versus AT&T customers. Which of them are happier?

Verizon has the edge. 83% of Verizon customers say they’re happy with the coverage they get in Parker, while 73% of AT&T users say they are happy, a full 10% less. Nevertheless, the fact that Verizon customers are 10% more happy with the coverage than AT&T customers in the Parker area does not explain Verizon’s 59% more customers! Perhaps Verizon’s users are very vocal about their satisfaction with the service.

No matter how good the coverage may be, however, there are always dead spots. Where are they? And are they the same for the different carriers?

Q3: What area is your coverage the worst?

By far the most problematic area was the stretch of Highway 95 between Parker and Lake Havasu City. 69% of all cellphone users reported it as the worst place to try making or receiving calls. 22% identified stretches of Highway 72 east of Parker (on the route to Phoenix for many travelers) and only 5% identified Highway 62 (on the route to metropolitan Southern California). This may be due to the presence of cell towers on that route and the relatively low-lying stretches of open desert.

67% of Verizon customers reported Highway 95 between Parker and Havasu as the worst area for Verizon coverage, while 80% of AT&T customers reported that route. AT&T customers, however, reported less for the other trouble spots cited by users of Verizon. Your best choice of cellphone provider may therefore depend on where you live or travel most.

Q4: What phone do you use?

With the sudden rise of smartphones, answers to this question are very different than they would have been 2 or 3 years ago when most phones would have been ‘flip’ phones. And it seems that, in Parker, many people are still content to use a simple, flip-style phone. 37% of those who took the survey chose this option. 17% say they use an Android-based phone like the Motorola Droid. 7% have an Apple iPhone, and the same number have a Windows-based phone. Of the 32% who chose ‘Other’, a significant number may be using Blackberry devices and the rest some other variety of device (this would include proprietary ‘smart’ phones like those made by Samsung, for example).

Interestingly, 33% of AT&T customers say they are using Apple’s iPhone, the innovation to which Android and other touch-based phones were a response. This may be due to a higher proportion of AT&T users in Parker ‘bucking the Verizon trend’ because of the iPhone in particular, which has only been available on AT&T since its debut in 2007. If so, rumors of the iPhone’s availability on Verizon in 2011 may provoke some changes. We asked our survey responders about it.

Q5: According to analysts, Apple’s iPhone may be available on Verizon sometime in 2011. Will you buy it?

58% of people say they are happy with their current phones. 32% say they will buy an iPhone, but only if it’s available through Verizon. The remaining 10% say they are iPhone users already with AT&T. Around a third of all cellphone users in the Parker area who do not have an iPhone, then, are interested in having one if it’s available on their network of choice. Their ‘loyalty’ is to the network rather than the device, at least in Parker (perhaps because they believe they have better coverage, see above). The loyalty of existing iPhone users, on the other hand, appears to be to the device, not the network.

CONCLUSION

So, our report finds Verizon a strong winner in both popularity and, to a lesser extent, reported coverage in the Parker area. Both networks seem to be neck-in-neck with regard to trouble spots; no network has yet managed to provide a satisfactory service between Parker and Lake Havasu. Yet most people are satisfied with the coverage here in general, slightly more with Verizon than with AT&T.

iPhone users will put up with slightly less satisfactory service for their device, which may be one reason so many Verizon customers say they will buy it if it becomes available to them. But, for many in the Parker area, a simple phone is better than a smartphone, so they don’t mind either way.

Thanks for taking part!

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