This is the last in what has been a deeper dive into the recently published Nokia 2016 Acquisition and Retention Study, where the focus has been on a series of reports that provide a more granular view and explanation of the overall study. In the last installment, the focus was on the report series associated with the study The Role of Mobile Advertising in Customer Retention. In fact, it went into detail on customer receptivity and how mobile advertising by mobile service providers of their own services can help attract and keep customers. And, as a wrap-up of the series, this time focus is on the all important area of data plans and their usage and is titled Data allowance, voice and messaging.
This is a case of saving the best for last. After all, having a data plan from your cellular operator that is within your zone of reasonableness on price, and making sure you can stay under the maximum allowed per month, are a personal priority. It defines in many ways your relationship with your device and your network service provider. It is why we spend so much time constantly looking for public Wi-Fi despite the known security problems. This becomes acute when we are roaming domestically and most especially when abroad so we can take advantage of OTT voice and messaging applications and bypass those expensive international roaming charges.
As this report shows, you and I are not alone. Regardless of where one lives, cost avoidance on cellular networks is a significant reason to keep looking for those Wi-Fi hotspots no matter whether you are on the move or at home. It is why mobile operators have turned to partnerships with OTTs and gone to zero-rating or subsidized subscriptions for various parts of their service bundles, particularly for voice and social messaging. However, as the report points out, this has had mixed success for a variety of reasons. And, the jury is still out to see if services, such as Netflix, Amazon prime and other streaming services from one’s data plan, do any more than keep customers on the wireless pipe without extracting additional value.
As an inducement to download this report, the graphic below shows the top three reasons why consumers avoid using their data plans when on mobile broadband networks and Wi-Fi is not available. It is a nice proof point that smart consumers will act in their own best interests, i.e., smartly.
There is no surprise here, or in the second chart which reflects additional consumer behavior— this time based on apps to be avoided.
In short, the answer is keep us informed, preferably via SMS text messages. As readers will see, the proof of the latter is in the numbers as to how consumers want to be informed. The numbers also show that consumers want a variety of options when they jump the curb on their data plans, which in rank order are:
- Add additional data on a one-off basis
- Pay based on amount of data used
- Permanently increase data allowance
- Don’t do anything
The recommendation that makes the most sense for mobile broadband operators to keep customers in general, and keep them on the data plans, is to include Wi-Fi as part of their service footprint. This has been a file which many operators have left to their cable TV counterparts for several years. And, while it is not too late, there should be a sense of urgency attached to extending the mobile footprint to include Wi-Fi access in as many places as possible or risk the consequences.
One final observation from the report is noteworthy. It is the finding that, while voice and messaging apps are eating away SMS traffic, people still like to make their voice calls on the mobile network. Whether this trend holds up over time, given the growing popularity of real-time video interactions, remains to be seen. However, it actually reinforces the need for mobile operators to think seriously about extending their networks via Wi-Fi ASAP.
Edited by Alicia Young