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Consumer Reports names AT&T worst mobile service provider

A Consumer Reports survey published Thursday identified AT&T as the worst major mobile service provider in the U.S. this year, giving the top spot to Verizon Wireless.

However, respondents identified AT&T's 4G/LTE network as the best in the nation, beating out both Big Red and Sprint in that department. It was the only carrier to receive a better-than-average rating for its 4G service.

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The picture was less rosy for AT&T in most other areas, though -- the telecom giant got the worst possible ratings for overall value, voice service and phone support from the more than 63,000 Consumer Reports subscribers polled for the report.

Verizon received a numerical score of 72 from the CR readers, who rated its voice and data services highly. The other three major carriers were close together, at 66 for second-place Sprint, 64 for third-place T-Mobile and 62 for AT&T. Sprint's overall data service received a mediocre rating, and its 4G capabilities were deemed the worst in the group. (Though it must be noted that T-Mobile has no true 4G service as yet.) T-Mobile's phone service and value proposition were both found to be slightly more acceptable than AT&T's.

Three smaller carriers all scored higher than the four national powerhouses -- Consumer Cellular, U.S. Cellular and Credo Mobile took home scores of 88, 85 and 76, respectively. That said, they likely aren't for everyone, and may have limited coverage areas or phone availability.

This year marks the third in a row that AT&T has won the booby prize in Consumer Reports' annual survey - though the positive news about the company's 4G network is likely a silver lining.

Email Jon Gold at jg[email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

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