Mobile users switch for cheaper calls

Almost 14 per cent of mobile phone users who participated in a recent survey reported switching providers in the last year, with 37 per cent saying they had switched providers at some stage.

Cheaper rates was the main reason behind mobile phone users switching, according to the Commerce Commission survey.

In fixed line services, most users switched providers to obtain better broadband services.

The survey, a first for the commission, was conducted in two stages by Roy Morgan Research.

The first stage involved data analysis of Roy Morgan's annual overall survey of consumer behaviour.

This survey covered 12,000 consumers across New Zealand and 50,000 in Australia.

The second stage involved tailored telephone interviews with 1053 mobile and fixed-line customers throughout New Zealand.

The main reason for fixed-line switching in the telephone survey was to improve broadband service (48.6 percent).

Of those that switched service providers, cost (41 percent) and the need for a higher data cap (33 percent) were given as the main reasons for not staying with their provider.

Few customers (4 percent) listed faster broadband as a reason.

The leading reasons given by consumers in all age groups for switching mobile providers were cheaper services (46 percent), better network coverage (22 percent), and being on the same network as family and friends (20 percent).

For those wanting to be on the same network as family and friends, 79 per cent explained that the main reason was cheaper services.

Almost 80 per cent of survey respondents in the telephone survey said they were unlikely to switch mobile providers in the next 12 months.

"Inertia and customer satisfaction with their existing provider appear to be the main reasons for not switching mobile service providers,'' the commission said.

Respondents who did switch overwhelmingly indicated a positive customer experience (almost 82 percent).

The survey is the first commission-funded study of customer issues that could affect competition in telecommunications markets.

Previous studies have concentrated on service providers.

"We commissioned this survey of customer experience to find out if there were any significant barriers stopping consumers from switching providers,'' Telecommunications Commissioner Ross Patterson said.

He said the study indicated that switching barriers did not appear to be significant.

"However, the telecommunications sector is extremely dynamic and these results are a snapshot in time, and the commission will continue to monitor development in the market,'' Patterson said.


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