Apple and Samsung don’t share a lot, although their patent lawyers might disagree. But the two leading smartphone manufacturers shared top honors in the latest J.D. Power customer satisfaction survey, released today.

And interestingly, AT&T got the highest grades of all major U.S. mobile carriers.

Apple ranked tops on AT&T, with a score of 856 out of a possible 1,000 points, followed by Nokia, Samsung, and HTC — all at 840 or lower. And Apple also took top position on Verizon, with 861 points to second-place finisher Samsung’s 827, followed by HTC, Motorola, and then BlackBerry. But on Sprint, Samsung edged out Apple with 853 points to Cupertino’s 849, and on T-Mobile, Samsung captured 830 points to Apple’s 825.

In other words: You can get a good smartphone, and a pretty great customer experience, from both Apple and Samsung.

The top-rated phones, however, might be a little surprising:

  • Apple iPhone 5
  • Blackberry Z10
  • Nokia Lumia 920
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II

The differences, however, are interesting, and say a lot about how individual carriers have grown with smartphones, positioned smartphones — and whether or not they’ve been able to sell iPhones since the beginning. It also says a lot about the services that the different carriers offer with smartphones, which in many cases are tailored to iPhone or to Android.

“This indicates that carrier services and how these carriers position specific features and services on their devices influence the experience customers have with their smartphone device,” Kirk Parsons, a senior director at J.D. Power, said in a statement.

In some cases, for instance, a T-Mobile might position Android phones with greater incentives and ancillary services because it makes more money off Android customers. And the same could be true of AT&T, but for Apple’s iPhones. Another factor, J.D. Power said, is that T-Mobile customers are much more likely to choose a phone based on price, while Sprint clients are looking at features first.

Overall customer satisfaction was high: 833 points out of 1,000.

That indicates that it’s hard to make a truly bad decision with a smartphone. Interestingly, however, AT&T beat out Verizon for top honors among smartphone owners, with an average smartphone satisfaction score of 843, while the same number for Sprint was 835. T-Mobile scored 825, as did Verizon.

The customer satisfaction numbers are based on 16,421 smartphone customers who have owned their phones for less than a year.

More information:

Verizon is a global broadband and telecommunications company and a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. It started in 1983 as Bell Atlantic (based in Philadelphia) with a footprint covering New Jersey to Virginia and emerged ... read more »

Apple designs and markets consumer electronics, computer software, and personal computers. The company's best-known hardware products include the Macintosh line of computers, the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad. Apple software includes:... read more »

An American telecommunications company based in Overland Park, Kansas. The company owns and operates Sprint, the third largest wireless telecommunications network in the United States, with 55 million customers, behind Verizon Wireless... read more »

AT&T is bringing it all together, from revolutionary smartphones to next-generation TV services and sophisticated solutions for multi-national businesses. For more than a century, they have provided innovative, reliable, high-quality p... read more »

Samsung Group is a South Korean multinational conglomerate company headquartered in Samsung Town, Seoul. It comprises numerous subsidiaries and affiliated businesses, most of them united under the Samsung brand, and is the largest Sout... read more »

As America’s Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc. (NYSE: TMUS) is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The company’s advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers ... read more »

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