Who could have known (insert symbol for sarcasm here)? A new survey shows that dropped problems are a call for AT&T!

Wireless telecom provider Verizon has been trouncing AT&T for months in surveys of customer satisfaction and loyalty. But a recent survey by ChangeWave Research shows dropped calls are a growing problem for AT&T stock, reports InvestorPlace (http://www.investorplace.com/experts/jeff_reeves/att-dropped-calls-t-stock-verizon-vz-sprint-nextel-s-t-mobile-deutsche-telecom-dt.htm). Even Sprint Nextel (S) and T-Mobile — a subsidiary of Deutsche Telecom — could see gains as customers think of leaving AT&T over the network troubles, the article adds.

Specifically, a March survey of 4,040 smartphone customers was conducted by ChangeWave Research, InvestorPlace.com’s consumer polling and research division. In it, Verizon customers reported only 1.5% of their calls being dropped over the past three months, the lowest in the smartphone industry. This is also the lowest percentage for a carrier ever recorded by ChangeWave in its smartphone customer surveys. Conversely, AT&T just reached its all time worst rating on this important measure. AT&T customers reported 4.5% of calls dropped in the last three months — three times that of Verizon.

Sprint came in at #2 with 2.4% of calls dropped, and T-Mobile #3 with 2.8% of calls dropped. AT&T was clearly the worst in the March survey, tacking on yet another increase over the last ChangeWave research survey. Furthermore, a closer look at the trends show an increasing number of dropped calls among AT&T customers surveyed, and a steadily decreasing number of dropped calls for Verizon customers.

The dropped calls correlate very closely with overall satisfaction with wireless carriers, according to ChangeWave. Findings from the March survey showed Verizon the clear leader in customer satisfaction, with 49% of those surveyed saying they are “very satisfied” with VZ service. This is in line with previous ChangeWave surveys, including a January ChangeWave survey where 50% of Verizon customers surveyed said they were “very satisfied.

Sprint ranked a clear #2 behind Verizon, with 35% of those surveyed claiming they are “very satisfied” with their Sprint Nextel service. This is up markedly from a satisfaction rate of just 27% in January. Deutsche Telecom’s T-Mobile tied with AT&T with 23% of those surveyed stating they were “very satisfied.”

— Dennis Sellers