Nokia Siemens: Study shows mobile broadband quality is key to customer churn

Heavy users of advanced mobile services are more likely to switch networks than other mobile customers, particularly if they are unhappy with their mobile broadband service quality, according to a study commissioned by Nokia Siemens Networks.

In the study of 16,000 people in 17 countries, more than 40 percent were considered heavy users of advanced services and of these more than half of that group had swapped mobile operators in the previous years. Further, some 40 percent were prepared to churn in the following year.

"According to the report, customers rated high-speed mobile broadband as the most important service over the next few years," said NSN.

NSN's annual acquisition and retention study classified respondents as "heavy users of advanced services" if they used at least two of the following services once a week: send/receive emails, chat, browse the Web, download or upload data files, play online games, use personalized applications, mobile payment, mobile TV, location based services and/or GPS navigation and video calling.

The study revealed that while most customers rank network coverage and voice quality as the top criteria for staying with an operator, heavy users of advanced services also list mobile broadband quality as a key metric alongside voice quality and network coverage in determining whether to churn to a different provider.

New mobile users and subscribers who switched operators during the last six months also ranked voice quality, network coverage and mobile broadband quality as the leading criteria for selecting their operator.

NSN said the number of heavy users of advanced services is increasing dramatically, with the category having grown by 34 percent in mature markets during 2011. More than half of users in this group are below 35 years of age. "About 60 percent of these users expect excellent network quality even if it costs a little more, and about 45 percent are ready to pay extra for special mobile services such as security packages or GPS-based services," said NSN.

"Our study highlights the need to focus on high value customers and improve the quality of mobile broadband to acquire, satisfy and retain mobile customers," said Amiram Mel, NSN's head of customer experience management.

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