More than three-quarters of SA’s mobile users are frustrated with their telecommunications service provider because of issues such as limited data coverage, dropped calls and the cost of services.
More worrying for operators is that 11% of consumers are actively looking to change their current provider with a further 46% indicating they would be willing to change if presented with the right offer.
This is according to new research released on Thursday by mobile advertising company InMobi. The survey was conducted in partnership with Hong Kong-based mobile research firm Decision Fuel and polled 653 respondents.
Half of respondents were female, 63% were aged between 20 and 34 and 31% were from rural areas or small towns, with the rest coming from urban centres.
As those surveyed were recruited via mobile advertising, both on mobile websites and through in-application advertising, the results are representative of fairly savvy SA mobile users’ opinions.
Daryn Smith, marketing manager for InMobi’s African office, says the main reason cited by respondents for wanting to switch networks was poor data network coverage. Those surveyed indicated that the promise of better customer service could also entice them to change networks.
“The key driver to switch is data coverage,” says Smith. “A quarter of respondents said they were unhappy with their current operator’s data coverage. The next biggest complaint was price. Surprisingly, only 2% indicated they valued better voice coverage and would consider it a reason to switch.”
Smith says this is indicative of the large number of SA mobile users who are using data services and moving away from voice and SMS.
“People are switching to data services so they’re prioritising it. We conducted the same research in Kenya and Nigeria and found SMS is still considered very important there, but it’s barely mentioned in SA.”
Of those surveyed, 17% indicated they were unhappy with pricing, with fewer than 10% of respondents listing customer service, voice coverage or dropped calls as concerns.
Smith says given that the SA mobile market is saturated — there are more Sim cards in the market than people — the only way operators can grow their subscriber numbers is by enticing people away from competitors.
Only 43% of respondents said they are happy to stay with their current service provider. — (c) 2012 NewsCentral Media