Consumer Reports just published its annual ratings report on wireless carriers, and the general consensus is that the Big Four tend to promise a lot—but their customer satisfaction scores prove they struggle to deliver.

None of the major carriers —Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile— could deliver an overall satisfaction score above 72 percent, as NBCNews mentioned, and Consumer Reports further added that cellphone companies rate the lowest among service providers.

Meanwhile, three smaller companies —Consumer Cellular, U.S. Cellular, and Credo Mobile— held the highest scores for customer satisfaction. U.S. Cellular, for instance, which is the largest of the three with service mostly in the Midwest, topped with a score of 88 percent.

The ratings report complied rankings from over 63,000 reader responses. The final results placed Big Red, a.k.a. Verizon, at No. 1 for overall service quality and availability, while Sprint, T-Mobile, and AT&T soon followed, respectively.

Verizon is apparently preferred by heavy-data users, but the latter three carriers scored better in the 4G-service department. AT&T had the fewest amount of problems for 4G service overall. Satisfaction scores also varied by location, however. The survey cropped data from 23 metropolitan areas and found AT&T rated significantly better than Verizon in places like Chicago.

It is worth noting that low carrier satisfaction opens a door for the rumored Dish Network-Google pairing. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski supports Dish’s proposal to create a wireless service, which still requires approval from the agency, as it would help increase competition in a wireless market currently dominated by AT&T and Verizon.

9to5Google previously reported that Dish is now hatching partnership plans with Google for 2013. Google plans to make the wireless service data-only, with voice and SMS only used as VoIP services, likely with Google Voice. Of course, Google already has an ISP foot on the ground with its Fiber rollout on the Stanford Campus and its just-opened Kansas City network.

Check out NBCNews for more details on the carrier survey; the full results of the survey will become available in Consumer Reports’ January 2013 issue.

This article is cross-posted at 9to5Mac.