Apple ranks second to Samsung in overall wireless smartphone satisfaction

Apple may want to ramp up its wireless charging efforts for smartphones, as Samsung currently has the edge in wireless smartphone satisfaction. Advanced technology that improves smartphone usability, such as wireless charging and fingerprint scanners, enables wireless subscribers to be more actively engaged with their device and helps increase their satisfaction, according to the “J.D. Power 2016 U.S. Wireless Smartphone Satisfaction Study—Volume 1.”

Now in its 10th year, the Wireless Smartphone Satisfaction Study measures customer satisfaction based on five factors (listed in order of importance): performance (25%); ease of operation (21%); battery (20%); physical design (19%); and features (16%). The study measures customer satisfaction with wireless original equipment manufacturers across Tier 1 wireless carriers (such as AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile). Satisfaction is calculated on a 1,000-point scale.

Apple devices rank highest in overall satisfaction among Sprint (843), T-Mobile (845) and Verizon Wireless (830) wireless customers. Samsung devices rank highest among AT&T customers (849). Among carriers, overall satisfaction with smartphones is highest with Sprint customers (834), followed by AT&T (833), T-Mobile (825) and Verizon Wireless (823) customers.

Offering smartphone features and functionality that help customers incorporate their devices into their daily routines is critical for increasing satisfaction with the user experience, according to J.D. Power. Wireless charging and fingerprint scanners are among those advanced technologies that improve ease of operation, which, in turn, leads to higher customer satisfaction with their device, adds the research group.

Wireless charging is also associated with high overall satisfaction. According to the J.D. Power study, satisfaction is 28 points higher for smartphones that are enabled with wireless charging, compared with those that do not have this feature (852 vs. 824, respectively).

What’s more, customers who own phones with wireless charging spend more on apps, compared to those who own phones without wireless charging ($20 vs. $18, respectively), says Kirk Parsons, senior director and technology, media & telecom practice leader at J.D. Power. Additionally, customers with wireless charging pay more for their monthly service than those without wireless charging ($137 vs. $121, respectively), he adds.

Among the 62% of customers who own phones with fingerprint scanners, satisfaction is relatively high largely because this feature simplifies the process of securely accessing phones, which enables customers to log on to their phones more easily and frequently. Overall satisfaction for phones with fingerprint scanners is 42 points higher than for phones without this feature (844 vs. 802, respectively)

Following are some of the key findings of the J.D. Power study:

  • Customer interest in wireless charging is high: Customers cite "wireless charging" with the highest frequency (49%) when asked to indicate the top three features they would like on their next smartphone. "Wireless charging" is followed by "seamless voice control" and "facial recognition/biometric security/fingerprint scanner" (19% each).
  • Phone subsidies lower the average price paid: Phone subsidies substantially reduce the average price paid for a smartphone among those with service contracts ($294, excluding free phones) than among those with equipment installment plans (EIPs) ($444) or leases ($405).

The “2016 U.S. Wireless Smartphone Satisfaction Study—Volume 1” is based on experiences evaluated by 11,693 smartphone customers who have owned their current smartphone device less than one year and who are customers of one of the four Tier 1 carriers. The study was fielded between September 2015 and February 2016.