Operators in Danger of Losing 50% of Customers says Ovum

Telecoms operators can be sure to keep only about half of their existing customer base over the next 12 months, according to Ovum’s recently published major global survey, 2014 Telecoms Customer Insights. About a quarter of all users globally say they will definitely change providers, with another quarter indicating they may do so.

“The research provides one of the largest and most unique global data sets that illuminates the significant differences in users’ churn patterns in incredible detail,” said Dobardziev. For example, the survey finds that almost twice as many customers of Airtel India or LG U+ in Korea plan to churn more than the global average of 23%. In contrast customers of Vodafone Germany or NTT DoCoMo in Japan are much more loyal, with only about 1 in 10 indicating they plan to switch operators.

The survey shows that the quality of the mobile broadband experience is the leading driver for mobile operator churn, with 37% of consumers globally saying that they either have left or plan to move to another provider because of slow connection speeds. For operators, these findings highlight the importance of investing in broadband.

The survey, which included over 15,000 consumers and 2,700 enterprises in 15 major global markets, also underlines the global importance of being online.

“Being online is by far the most important thing in consumers’ digital media lives,” says Angel Dobardziev, practice leader at Ovum. “When we asked consumers to rate a range of activities on a scale from ‘essential’ to ‘unimportant’, browsing the Web came top, with nearly 6 out of 10 consumers rating it as essential. By comparison, an old favourite such as watching TV was rated by only 3 out 10 consumers as essential, scoring as less important than reading the news (50% of consumers), reading a book (45%) and listening to music (42%).”

The survey also found that iPhone users are much more likely to churn than those with another phone, and mostly in order to find a provider with faster mobile network speeds – again underlining how crucial the quality of broadband experience is to consumers.

Operators must deepen their understanding of consumers’ propensity to switch providers, not just in their own market, but more broadly given that global trends permeate national borders. “This must be combined with an evaluation of drivers for customer churn across different segments, markets and providers, with a view to gaining insight on the best, and worst, practices – despite differences in local market contexts and levels of competition,” said Dobardziev.

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine