As mobile Internet services mature, most smartphone users now expect operators to provide flawless access with zero downtime or quality issues. This expectation extends to the apps consumers use, with more blame being placed on mobile network operators than any other party, including the app developer, when experiences fall short of expectations. These insights, from a Vasona Networks, Inc.® survey of smartphone owners this month, indicate that mobile operators must prioritize mobile data experience quality in order to keep subscribers happy.
Good Performance, All The Time
Sixty-four percent of consumers responding to the survey cited "good performance all the time" as a reasonable expectation from their mobile data service provider. Just 36 percent of subscribers still think it is reasonable for there to be "hiccups in performance," "unavailability for extended periods" or "unavailability in certain places."
When asked to identify the principal cause of problems during use of an app, mobile service providers are the most commonly cited party for blame, with 40 percent selecting them. Thirty-nine percent blame the app maker and the remainder of consumers suspect their device or device operating system to be the cause.
Data service quality is crucial for subscribers, with 29 percent citing "mobile Internet performance" as most important when choosing a provider. That's more than half of the 55 percent who noted price of the plan as most important. Sixteen percent indicated choice of devices as a primary deciding factor.
"Mobile Internet performance is becoming increasingly important for consumers and this survey indicates just how high a bar subscribers are setting for their service providers," says John Reister, vice president of marketing and product management for Vasona Networks. "Our findings indicate that it is no longer sufficient for mobile operators to offer a good experience most of the time across most of their network. Today, if every cell isn't delivering great performance, subscribers are being let down."
The survey also indicates that mobile Web surfing stands out as the most performance-sensitive activity for consumers. Fifty-six percent of respondents claim to be most frustrated by consequences of poor data connections causing "Web pages to load slowly or not at all." Eighteen percent of consumers noted being most frustrated when mobile Internet performance causes a delay in opening or operating an app, and 16 percent cited "video freezing or not playing smoothly" as a primary frustration.
Vasona Networks, which provides traffic management platforms for mobile networks, conducted the survey online August 14 -19. The questions were each fielded by 1,000 U.S. online consumers who indicated that they use a smartphone with a mobile data plan.