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Oh, the irony! Charter, T-Mobile share top J.D. Power MVNO ranking

Fresh mobile study from J.D. Power is the first to see a cable company secure a top score among MVNOs. Comcast's Xfinity Mobile service beat the MVNO industry average and Dish-owned Boost Mobile.

Jeff Baumgartner

August 13, 2021

3 Min Read
Oh, the irony! Charter, T-Mobile share top J.D. Power MVNO ranking

Former T-Mobile's CEO John Legere's dismissive comments from 2018 that he viewed Comcast's Xfinity Mobile service as "very irrelevant" and Charter Communications' Spectrum Mobile service as "irrelevant squared" continue to age about as well as a can of sardines languishing in the sun.

And let's not forget that Legere also opined then that the cable ops were "incompetent, and they don't belong in wireless without having owner economics."

Legere's long gone from T-Mobile, but some three years after his fateful comments, the mobile offerings from Comcast and Charter, which are backed by an MVNO deal with Verizon, have a combined 6.32 million lines in service – 3.38 million lines for Comcast and 2.94 million for Charter.

Meanwhile, Comcast declared in April that its mobile business is now profitable. Charter, meanwhile, is on its way toward matching that distinction.

And to top that all off, both are now among the top-ranked MVNO services, according to a new study from J.D. Power.

Adding to the irony, the MVNO piece of JD Powers' latest study of the mobile market found that Charter's Spectrum Mobile tied with T-Mobile's "Metro" MVNO service for the top spot. Comcast's Xfinity Mobile, meanwhile, outpaced the performance of the MVNO market average as well as Boost Mobile, the former Sprint MVNO that is now in the hands of Dish Network.

Figure 1: Click here for a larger version of this image. Click here for a larger version of this image.

According to J.D. Power, this is the first time that a cable company has achieved the top ranking among MVNOs.

"Spectrum Mobile's customers rank its in-store reps the highest, especially their knowledge, concern and courtesy shown combined with the high clarity of information provided, which typically indicates a well-trained, longer-tenured store staff," J.D. Power explained.

Among "value" MVNOs, Consumer Cellular was again ranked the highest, beating out TracFone, which is in the process of being acquired by Verizon, and Straight Talk, according to the study.

Though it had to share the MVNO crown with Charter, T-Mobile again had bragging rights among US mobile network operators, ranking the highest for the eighth-consecutive "volume"/study that J.D. Power has conducted on the mobile sector. AT&T was second.

Figure 2: Click here for a larger version of this image. Click here for a larger version of this image.

J.D. Power said the 2021 U.S. Wireless Purchase Experience Mobile Network Operator Performance Study and the U.S. Wireless Purchase Experience Mobile Virtual Network Operator Performance Study are based on responses from 10,952 customers taken from January-June 2021.

The organization said overall purchase experience satisfaction with both MNOs and MVNOs is measured in two factors: Cost and Promotions, and Purchase Process.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Jeff Baumgartner

Senior Editor, Light Reading

Jeff Baumgartner is a Senior Editor for Light Reading and is responsible for the day-to-day news coverage and analysis of the cable and video sectors. Follow him on X and LinkedIn.

Baumgartner also served as Site Editor for Light Reading Cable from 2007-2013. In between his two stints at Light Reading, he led tech coverage for Multichannel News and was a regular contributor to Broadcasting + Cable. Baumgartner was named to the 2018 class of the Cable TV Pioneers.

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