Mobile Broadband UsersMore than half of “heavy users” of advanced mobile broadband services have changed service providers in recent years. And approximately 40% are ready to switch providers again in the next 12 months, according to a massive survey of 16,000 individuals in 17 countries. More than 40% of the 16,000 interviewed were categorized as “heavy users.”

The impact of mobile broadband connectivity on customer retention increased significantly in 2011, according to the survey, which was commissioned by Nokia Siemens Networks. Network coverage and voice quality were rated the most important criteria in 2010 and continued to be among the top-cited criteria in 2011. But beginning in 2011, heavy users of advanced services rated mobile broadband quality equally important to network coverage and voice quality.

New service subscribers, as well as those who had changed within the last six months, also ranked voice quality, network coverage and mobile broadband quality as the three top criteria determining whether or not they’d stay with their service provider.

“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, head of Customer Experience Management at Nokia Siemens Networks. “It is vital for operators to provide a personalized experience by using the information they have about how customers use their mobile services to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty. Customer insights enable operators to prioritize individually selected services and allocate their precious network resources to match the service expectations of different customer segments.”

Expected increases in smartphone subscriber numbers means that heavy users of advanced services will become the most prevalent type of subscriber in the future. The number of subscribers in this market segment rose 34% in mature markets in 2011, with more than half below the age of 35. Some 60% of heavy users expect excellent mobile broadband network quality and are willing to pay a bit more for it, according to the study. About 45% are willing to pay extra for special services, such as security packages or GPS-based services.

Customers expect high-speed mobile broadband service quality to be the most important service over the next few years. Unfavorable contract conditions, the high cost of devices and voice services, unfavorable tariff schemes, operators’ device portfolios and poor mobile broadband quality were cited as causing the highest levels of dissatisfaction.

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