Report: Operators need to rethink contract lengths due to rapid pace of smartphone innovation

The rapid pace of device obsolescence can be damaging to operator loyalty, according to a new UK study by WDS. The study found that the lifespan of a flagship smartphone is now less than half that of the average two-year mobile contract, leaving many contract customers locked to a device that may be superseded just months into their contract. The result is a rapid fall in device satisfaction after just six months of ownership, with just 53 per cent of customers highly satisfied with their smartphone by the end of the first year. "This is not a problem with smartphone innovation. Innovation is good. The problem is that lengthy mobile contracts and smartphone innovation are totally misaligned," said Tim Deluca-Smith, vice president of marketing at WDS, a Xerox company. "The industry is asking customers to commit in excess of £1,000 ($1,527) over two years to use a product that will likely be superseded less than a year into the contract. It's little wonder that satisfaction starts to fall so quickly as they watch their device discounted [to make way for a replacement] often within months of launch." The survey comprised interviews with 577 mobile customers and was conducted in the fourth quarter of 2012. Release