Sixty percent of smartphone users around the world are unsatisfied with their service and ready to switch carriers, according to a new survey from Accenture. But consumers' demand for mobile content and services is stronger than ever, and network operators can differentiate themselves by becoming more open, considering new revenue models and leveraging data to create a superior customer experience.
Accenture's survey of 24,000 users in 24 countries found that 62 percent of respondents are concerned about the security of mobile financial transactions, and 47 percent expressed concerns regarding privacy and security. Nearly three-fourths of those polled said they'd be willing to pay more for better connectivity and performance, and a whopping 83 percent said they are unhappy with mobile advertising interfering with the time they spend on their handsets.
And while mobile data consumption is at an all-time high worldwide, users are less interested in buying new hardware. Only 13 percent of those surveyed said they plan to increase their spending on smartphones, tablets, laptops and PCs in the next 12 months, marking a 60 percent decrease from the previous year.
The findings are noteworthy considering AT&T and Verizon are in the midst of building out mobile advertising businesses, and the FCC is working to implement new rules that would put more restrictions on the type of data Internet service providers could obtain from their customers. And carriers and smartphone vendors both are working to entice wireless users to upgrade their devices with the offering of yearly upgrade plans, buy-one, get-one offers and more.
Accenture -- which, as a provider of consulting services and other offerings, clearly has a dog in this fight -- said carriers must consider what their customers want from their wireless experiences, then must work to meet those expectations when and where their customers demand them.
"As service providers upgrade their networks they have a very real opportunity in front of them to leverage the massive amounts of user data that's thrown off by their users," said Kevan Yalowitz, a senior strategist at Accenture. "Quality of service is one way -- if we know that peak video consumption occurs in the evening, and you have a quality-of-service degradation at that point," carriers must know about the degradation before they can address it.
Analytics can also be used to determine what kind of content and services customers want, Yalowitz continued. And carriers should be open to working with others to ensure their customers can access the content and services they want rather than being limited by garden walls.
"We think embracing open innovation and shared ecosystems and becoming a platform for great experiences is something that's key today," he said. "No longer can you be a single platform that exists all on its own."
Of course, carriers historically have struggled mightily to monetize content and apps as well as third-party vendors, and they often don't play well with others. But those that are willing to embrace new strategies and business models can thrive as mobile data consumption continues to ramp up, according to Accenture.
"Consumers really want to be met where they want to consume" mobile services, Yalowitz claimed. "The old habits need to die hard, and very quickly."
- see this Accenture press release
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