AT&T U-verse sits atop customer satisfaction rankings as all pay TV services slip

U-verse website
Although AT&T has largely been content to see users of its U-verse TV platform migrate to its virtual pay TV services in recent years, the IPTV platform finished atop the American Customer Service Index rankings for subscription TV services this year. (AT&T)

AT&T's somewhat abandoned U-verse TV platform ranked first in the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index (ASCI) rankings of subscription TV services, with most operators experiencing erosion in their year-over-year score. 

Scoring platforms on a 1-100 scale based on factors including “HD picture quality,” “TV signal reliability,” “ease of understanding bill,” “range of channels available” and “call center satisfaction,” U-verse held flat with a “70” score, while last year’s winner, Verizon Fios, slipped three points to finish second with a score of 68.

Third-place finisher Dish Network (67) was the only other service to hold flat—there were no gainers. 

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The biggest decliners were Charter’s Spectrum platform (-8%), Frontier (-7%), DirecTV (-6%) and Altice’s Suddenlink and Optimum-branded services (down 8% and 6%, respectively)—although Optimum was the top-ranked cable TV platform, coming in fifth among all pay TV operations behind DirecTV with a 62.

Mediacom ranked dead last once again with a 55 score. Comcast’s Xfinity TV platform slipped one point to finish third from last. 

Overall, ASCI said, “Many aspects of the customer experience have deteriorated” for pay TV operators. 

“Customer service representatives are perceived as less helpful and courteous (77), but the speed of transactions at service centers is unchanged (76),” the report said. “Viewers say that TV signals are slightly less reliable (74) and service disruptions are more frequent (72). As the battle for content continues, viewers are increasingly disappointed with the range of channels and premium channels available (both 73). Call centers remain a low point for the industry and continue to decline (down 3% to 63).”

Ranking video streaming services for the first time, ASCI reported significantly higher scores for services like Netflix, Sony PlayStation Vue and Amazon’s Twitch, which each scored a 78 to finish atop the OTT category. 

Sling TV and DirecTV Now finished towards the bottom of the rankings, with 71 and 70 scores, respectively—customer satisfaction scores that would put the two virtual services ahead of most linear platforms in the survey. 

“Video streaming services are doing well by avoiding some of the most hated aspects of other telecom experiences,” ASCI noted. “For most of the top-rated providers, there are no hidden fees and canceling is easy and painless.”