Customers care more about service than unlimited data
- Customers rank quality of service above coverage
- Analysts advise that unlimited plans slow down internet
- Mobile broadband providers must improve for fear of regulation
For those waiting for unlimited plans on mobile wireless broadband, the Mobile Broadband Industry Survey 2011-12 brings bad news.
Senior analyst Nicole McCormick drew attention to the dangers of unlimited tariffs on mobile broadband plans, citing them as a major cause for traffic congestion. The heavy traffic that results from unlimited plans slows down the service for all users and results in many complaints from customers about the unreliable speeds and coverage of mobile broadband.
This is reflected in the first new top ranking in four years as "most important differentiator in the mobile broadband market": quality of service. Customers have turned away from former favourite factor – coverage – and now want faster, stronger, and more reliable broadband.
It's no real surprise to anyone within the industry. Complaints around the lacklustre quality of mobile broadband abound; customers who can only get mobile broadband may feel severely disadvantaged by the lack of certainty that a fixed line provides.
Internet speeds on mobile broadband may be crawling.
McCormick said that operators needed to invest especially in "key hotspot areas" to keep data congestion to a minimum. She made suggestions to ensure more reliable service like encouraging traffic towards fixed lines wherever possible and intelligent pricing plans designed to encourage off-peak usage.
McCormick cited smartphones as a major cause of growing customer dissatisfaction with mobile broadband. She said: "Today's data users are discerning. With the rise of smartphones, they expect their data demands to be met 24/7, without disruption. It is imperative that operators rise to this challenge or risk disgruntled customers churning."
The Mobile Broadband Industry Survey 2011-12 found that customers were particularly unhappy in New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan – and Australia.
Mobile broadband providers will need to address the problems soon or regulators may be forced to do it for them, McCormick warned. Regulations will involve speed and reliability benchmarks and the tightening of advertising rules.
Until these regulations come in, if you're sick of your mobile broadband connection, call us on 1300 106 571 to discuss your ADSL broadband options.