Telecommunications: Surveys of Consumers and of State Utility Commissions about Wireless Phone Service (GAO-10-35SP, November 2009), an E-supplement to GAO-10-34

Read the Full Report: Telecommunications: FCC Needs to Improve Oversight of Wireless Phone Service (GAO-10-34)


This e-supplement provides information from two surveys: one is a nationwide survey of consumers about their satisfaction with wireless phone service and problems they have experienced with it in recent years, and the other is a survey of state utility commissions about their oversight of this service. We surveyed a nationally representative, randomly selected sample of adult wireless phone users 18 years of age or older who had cell phone service in 2008 to determine consumers’ satisfaction with wireless phone service and any problems experienced. We conducted this survey of the American public from February 23, 2009, through April 5, 2009. We completed 1,143 interviews, which included calls made to all 50 states, with an overall response rate of 32 percent. Our sampling approach included randomly contacting potential respondents using both landline and cell phone telephone numbers. Using both types of telephone numbers provided us with comprehensive coverage of adult cell phone users. We conducted an analysis of the final weighted estimates from our survey to identify whether our results contain a significant level of bias because our results inherently do not reflect the experiences of those who did not respond to our survey—i.e., a nonresponse bias analysis. Because we did not identify obvious levels of bias in the final weighted estimates at the national level, we chose to include these estimates in this e-supplement. We surveyed state utility commissions in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to determine their efforts to oversee services provided by wireless phone service carriers, including their regulation of these services and efforts to process consumer complaints. We conducted this survey from March 3, 2009, through April 1, 2009. Using a Web-based survey and subsequent follow-up with individual states, we received responses from all 51 commissions.

The e-supplement includes (1) our analyses of responses to both surveys and (2) the questions asked in the two surveys. It does not include some results from both surveys. For the survey of consumer satisfaction, we omitted results with a margin of error +/- 9 percent or more and demographic data. For the state utility commission survey, we omitted results for questions to which we received inconsistent responses that we could not clarify through additional follow-up. Additionally, for both surveys, we excluded responses to open-ended narrative questions and categories with no responses. All results have been rounded to whole numbers. The consumer survey also includes instructions for the interviewer, such as “click one” and “check all that apply.”

We conducted our work in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. A more detailed discussion of our scope and methodology and agency comments on the draft report are contained in our report "Telecommunications: FCC Needs to Improve Oversight of Wireless Phone Service," GAO-10-34 (Washington, D.C.: Nov 10, 2009).

Instructions for Viewing This Survey

How to View the Surveys

  • We present the results of two surveys, one of consumers and the other of state utility commissions, about wireless phone service.
  • Click on the "Selecting a Survey to View Survey Results" link located in the lower right corner of this screen to make your selection. To read to the bottom of the screen, you may need to use your scroll bar on the right side of this screen.
  • Once you have selected a survey, the next screen for each survey includes a table of contents. While viewing the results of one survey, to switch to the other, click on "Table of Contents" at the bottom of the screen and then "Previous" at the bottom of the table of contents screen to return to the screen where you can select a survey to view.
  • The state survey had links to allow respondents to bypass inapplicable questions (skip patterns). While these links were active during the data collection period, they are now disabled.

How to View the Responses for Each Question

  • To view the responses to each question, click on the question number. (Links to survey questions will look like this: 1., etc.)
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Contact Information?

  • If you have questions concerning these data, contact Mark L. Goldstein at (202) 512-2834 or
Selecting a Survey to View Survey Results
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