Nokia identifies top five reasons for mobile churn

Mobile subscribers worldwide are placing more importance on customer service and value as network quality improves, research from Nokia indicates.

The top five factors motivating the decision to select or leave operators are cost and billing, network quality, customer care and service and device portfolios, a global survey shows.

Customer care has grown to be about on par with network quality as a deciding factor for whether to stay with a mobile operator, the results suggest.

Respondents indicated that customer care has 60% more impact on their loyalty than it did just two years ago.

This is partly also due to the fact that networks are improving in mature markets. Customers in these regions reported a 13 percentage point improvement in their satisfaction with internet connection quality compared to 2014. But in emerging markets there was a slight decline.

More than two thirds of respondents indicated they would leave an operator over network quality issues, with the speed and consistency of internet connections mattering more than either voice quality or network coverage.

Respondents using 4G were 38% more likely to be satisfied with their data speed and 24% more likely to be satisfied with data consistency.

But the report also suggests that 4G adoption remains far from universal. In the past year, only 38% of the respondents signed up for 4G, and almost a third do not know if their operators offer the technology.

Price remains the most important factor when it comes to customer acquisition and retention, the survey shows.

But mobile customers - particularly in mature markets - will often choose easy-to-understand terms and conditions over price. Nokia said this suggests that customers want more transparency when it comes to contract terms, rate structures and data fees.

“We can see the marketing battles to acquire mobile subscribers are fierce. What we don't see as well is the work operators do every day to retain customers. Our study shows how important that work is - and also how challenging it is as customers, attached to their phones, demand higher levels of service,” Nokia applications and analytics president Bhaskar Gorti said.

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