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Apple dominates other smartphone vendors in consumer satisfaction

The latest American Customer Satisfaction Index has found, not surprisingly, that people really like their iPhones.

The latest ACSI, which is published quarterly by the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business and rates a wide range of big-name tech vendors on a 100-point scale, shows that Apple is simply outclassing its competition in the mobile phone market, as its score of 83 bests its nearest competitor by eight points. Apple's closest competitors on the latest ACSI are HTC, LG and Nokia, all of whom scored 75 on the latest index.

Troubled BlackBerry maker Research in Motion had the lowest score among mobile phone manufacturers on this year's ACSI, as its 69 rating trailed Apple's score by a whopping 14 points. ACSI founder Claes Fornell says that RIM's low ratings shouldn't be surprising to anyone who's been following the news surrounding the company for the past year.

RELATED: AT&T again ranks last in Consumer Reports survey

IN OTHER NEWS: iPad rivals not up to snuff, says Consumer Reports

"Companies with weak customer satisfaction often have weak stock performance," Fornell says. "RIM's sales are slumping amid a bevy of problems, from hardware and software issues to server lapses that have caused email and messaging outages. Over the past year, share price for RIM has virtually collapsed."

The latest ACSI has also found that Sprint is tops among major American wireless carriers in overall customer satisfaction, although this may be a somewhat dubious honor since most U.S. wireless carriers have seen their satisfaction score fall over the past year. According to the ACSI, Sprint is leading the pack with a satisfaction score of 71, followed closely by Verizon at 70, and AT&T and T-Mobile, which both scored 69 on the survey. AT&T was the only major wireless carrier to see its ratings increase year-over-year as its 69 score represented a 4.5% increase from the 66 score it recorded in 2011. What's more, it seems that subscribers at small carriers were significantly more satisfied than subscribers at the big four, as all other wireless carriers had an aggregate score of 76 on this year's survey.

And finally, Verizon's FiOS fiber optic service led all subscription television services in the latest ACSI in customer satisfaction with a score of 72. FiOS was the only subscription TV service to top 70 on the latest index and was trailed by the DISH Network, which had a score of 69, and by AT&T's U-Verse and DirecTV, which each had scores of 68. Charter Communications had the lowest customer satisfaction score among subscription TV services at 59, while Comcast had the second-lowest score at 61.

Overall, the ACSI creates customer satisfaction indexes for 10 economic sectors consisting of more than 200 companies. Each company's ACSI is based on a sample of at least 250 customer interviews, and the ACSI conducts more than 65,000 customer interviews each year.

Brad Reed covers Google, wireless carriers and mobile applications for Network World. Be sure to check out Google Reed-er, a blog filled with his ramblings on Google and whatever else he feels like discussing. Follow him on Twitter at @bwreednww.

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