Mobile customer churn will increase in many European Union markets in 2012, analysts at Yankee Group now predict. “Value” is expected to be a key driver for much of that churn, one might conclude, with potential winners among the ranks of service providers with a “value” orientation.

During 2012, several European Union countries will slide into recession and governments will press ahead with tough austerity measures, Yankee Group believes. The most affected countries will include Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Ireland, but others, including the U.K. and France, will also be impacted.

“As they did during the last recession, customers will optimize their mobile consumption behavior in an attempt to minimize monthly spend,” say Yankee Group researchers.

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During the first year of the recession between the fourth quarter of 2008 and the fourth quarter of 2009, monthly churn increased by 0.14 percentage points. That might not sound like much, but leads to about a 17-percent increase in churn rate over a year’s time.

During 2012, similar switching behavior will contribute to another increase in churn rates.

Yankee Group predicts the net effect will be an increase of 0.1 percentage points in the average monthly churn rates in Western Europe during 2012. This means churn will increase from approximately 2.3 percent per month today to 2.4 percent by the end of 2012.

If the forecast proves correct, almost seven million mobile customers in Western Europe will switch their mobile providers during 2012.

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