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Research: Sprint Nextel has the fewest dropped calls

Corporate wireless management company mindWireless has stepped into the fierce debate over which carrier truly has the fewest dropped calls, offering up its own data that shows Sprint Nextel Corp.’s CDMA network usually is the most reliable.
MindWireless said it used a sample of more than 80 million calls placed and received between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2006, as the basis for its conclusions. The company defined a dropped or “duplicate” call as “a call from a cellular device to another wireless device or landline placed within two minutes of a prior call to the same destination, with no call between.” The company excluded calls to voicemail and Sprint Nextel push-to-talk calls.
“We are constantly bombarded with advertising from wireless carriers claiming to offer the fewest dropped calls, making it hard to decipher the truth,” said David Wise, managing director of mindWireless. “Because we manage over 130,000 wireless lines for our clients, with access to detailed call data, we have a very accurate view into actual calling patterns-and the results surprised us.”
The company, which called itself “an independent services provider with no carrier alliances,” found that Sprint Nextel’s CDMA network had the lowest average rate of duplicate calls, with 5.4 percent over the six-month period. Sprint Nextel was followed closely by Cingular Wireless L.L.C.’s legacy AT&T Wireless Services Inc. network, with an average duplicate call rate of 5.7 percent. Verizon Wireless, which touts its network as the most reliable in its advertising, came in third with an average duplicate call rate of 8 percent.
Cingular’s own network-the one it operated before it acquired AWS-averaged a duplicate call rate of 11.3 percent, while T-Mobile USA Inc. came in with 13.8 percent. Sprint Nextel’s iDEN network placed last with an average duplicate call rate of 14.6 percent over the first six months of 2006.
The findings are notable as Sprint Nextel routinely rates at the low end of many such network studies.

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