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We'd switch mobile networks, but we can't be bothered – survey

But 34% of users are 'thinking about it' AT ALL TIMES

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Inertia is a principle well-known in insurance and personal banking circles, but the mobile phone industry has always behaved as if subscriber loyalty were governed purely by discounts and phone upgrades.

But new research by telecoms customer service provider WDS shows that apathy is just as important in mobile.

A survey of 4,000 people across the UK, US, Australia and South Africa found that that at any one time 34 per cent of customers were thinking of switching and that only 44 per cent of people who’d not switched were truly happy with their decision. Meanwhile, over a quarter of people simply don't switch because it’s just too much hassle. Really only about 35 per cent of people are happy with their mobile network.

WDS also looked at handset loyalty. Here Apple took the top spot with 70 per cent of customers being highly satisfied. A bit of a surprise in second place – with 69 per cent of happy customers – was Motorola, with Samsung coming third and Nokia placed last.

Manufacturer

Highly satisfied (% of surveyed users)

Kinda satisfied (% of surveyed users)

Unsatisfied (% of surveyed users)

Apple

70

24

6

Motorola

69

16

14

Samsung

64

26

10

Sony

60

26

14

Blackberry

58

25

16

HTC

57

28

15

LG

55

30

15

Nokia

53

32

15

Other

50

30

20

People are happiest when the their phones are still new, though the lustre wears off after about seven months. 58 per cent of people are looking to switch device. Most Apple customers – 75 per cent of them – will be loyal to the fruity ones, with Samsung coming second at 54 per cent and surprisingly given the satisfaction figures 37 per cent of Nokia owners taking the third spot as most loyal to the brand, with Sony coming last at 28 per cent. The manufacturer most people switch to is Samsung – with 33 per cent of defectors moving to Sammy devices, while 20 per cent moved to Apple. There is little difference in loyalty between age, gender and whether the phone is on contract or pre-pay.

Network loyalty is, however, very different with customers under 34 being twice as likely to churn from one operator to another. The longer a customer sticks with a network, the less likely they are to churn in a given year. And high spenders churn more than low spenders.

Some of the stats are a little obvious. MVNO customers are more price-conscious than MNO customers, but as price is the rationale for the vast majority of MVNOs that’s rather self-defining. Customers are however much more likely to recommend their MVNO to friends than their MNO, and having an Apple phone makes customers like the network more.

It’s long been known that poor coverage in a customer’s home is the prime reason for churning and the WDS survey confirms this with network coverage being the top requirement.

The rationale for the survey is that WDS, based in Poole, runs a customer service for mobile phone operators and handset manufacturers. When front-line support can’t handle a call – if it’s more than “what’s my PUK” – the call is put through to WDS for troubleshooting.

WDS uses the report to reinforce the value of customer service to reduce churn, and you can guess who they might recommend for that. You can download the full report here. ®

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