Tom's Guide analysis has just revealed that the title for the worst phone carrier in the United States does not actually belong to Sprint (big surprise). Despite the bad press Sprint has been getting, there is one other name that deserves the spot based on the findings on Tom's Guide; and that title goes to Straight Talk, a wireless Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO).
Tom's Guide recently put nine wireless providers head to head with each other to determine this year's best and worst wireless carriers. Among the different factors they assessed include the LTE network speed, monthly data plans, and even customer-service evaluations. Both T-Mobile and Verizon scuffled against each other for the top spot of the carrier rankings. But as for the worst carrier spot, it was already clear from the start who the bottom spot would belong to.
On paper, Straight Talk really sounded good. The MVNO combined coverage across the big four networks so it was expected they would get the best nationwide coverage to their customers. But based on the test performed by Tom's Guide, Straight Talk's average download speed was only 5.1Mbps. The next carrier to have the slowest download speed was Cricket, who had a 6.0Mbps average. But considering its parent carrier, AT&T, caps its speed at 8Mbps, it still outperforms Straight Talk.
Apart from its network speed, Straight Talk did not offer any real competitive edge over the other smartphone plans offered by other carriers. They also did not have a broader range of phone selections and special features to offer. In common sense, there wasn't a gap too big to compete with other carriers.
Lastly, the MVNO did poorly with its customer service. During anonymous testing of Straight Talk's support, the reviewers noted that they "consistently ran into a messy automated phone system and unsatisfying answers from Straight Talk's phone reps, who were difficult to understand." The reviewers also pointed out that relying on social media support only led to frustration as the MVNO never responded to a question posted on their Twitter support account. Not to mention, its supposedly "helpful" online chat feature did not live up to its expectations.
Its frustrating to find that Straight Talk did not live up to par with its claims on its TV ads. With this recognition as the worst carrier in the US, it should learn from its mistakes and improve on its own offerings; especially since their budget-minded wireless customers deserve more for what they are currently getting.