Network quality is critical–consumers are looking for ubiquitous coverage
Consumers want ubiquitous coverage—a network that follows them everywhere and provides compelling usage experience anywhere. The survey shows that the subscriber’s primary criterion in selecting a service provider is the quality of network—close to 90 percent of the respondents voted for network quality and an almost equal number chose coverage as the basis for network selection. This was closely followed by connection speed (85 percent). This was true across emerging markets as well as mature economies. In countries such Mexico, Brazil and South Africa, more than 90 percent of the survey participants cited network quality as the most important basis on which they chose their network provider for mobile Internet access. The network quality criterion was on the top of the list, which along with connection speeds and cost of data connection, included other factors such as quality of customer service, device subsidy, contract period, devices on offer and content from the service provider, and special offers. The importance of all these criteria (which more than half of the respondents find crucial to their decision on network selection) implies that network providers will need to pay special attention to two basic things: constantly upgrading their network and offering innovative subscription packages. Significant investments in upgrading network quality and coverage would indeed be a critical driver in driving mobile Internet usage.
Cost of mobile Internet access perceived to be higher than expected While the subscriber’s primary criterion in selecting a service provider is the quality of network, the cost of data connection falls just outside the top three network selection criteria, possibly because such costs have stabilized. However, it is still an important criterion for more than 80 percent of the respondents. Interestingly, while a majority (56 percent) of the survey participants felt the monthly cost of mobile Internet access was within their expectations, nearly a quarter considered it to be high. This perception could be a barrier to a faster adoption of mobile Internet among all Internet users. Ad banners and advertising through texting considered to be annoying Additionally, companies across the communications, media and technology value chain will need to take note of a finding that reiterates the annoyance factor associated with online advertising. About 38 percent of the respondents considered add banners as annoying and while just as many found advertising through texting irritating. However, 66 percent were favorable to information on coupons and promotions— with 46 percent viewing it as informative and 20 percent as amusing. This again brings to light the growing challenge for advertising and marketing companies to develop innovative ways to reach out to their target audience. Service providers and content developers will need to explore opportunities to collaborate with marketing and advertising companies to overcome this barrier.