J.D. Power and Associates Report: Canadians Unhappy With Cost Of Mobile Services

by Gaurav Kheterpal on May 11, 2011

Last October, I made a failed attempt at demystifying why Canada holds the dubious distinction of being the world’s most expensive place to own a cellphone. Things have changed considerably since then – several new players have made their presence felt, networks have been upgraded to “4G” and tall claims made about providing affordable quality service.

Have things really changed though? A new survey by J.D. Power and Associates indicates Canadians are still unhappy with the cost and quality of mobile service they receive. So, is the so-called ”thriving wireless competition” in Canada a mere eye-wash? After all, competition usually means better services at a lower price. Right? Wrong!

The J.D. Power study “examines perceptions of wireless customers with their service and retail experience” measured across seven factors on a 1,000-point scale: cost; network quality; account management; customer service; handset; offerings and promotions; and sales process. Unsurprisingly, wireless experience is the area with which most Canadians are least satisfied.

The study indicates average monthly bills have increased, thanks largely due to the explosive increase in penetration of smartphones and data plans. Nearly 31% respondents in 2011 report owning a smartphone, up from 25% two years back. More significantly, nearly 60% respondents say their data usage costs have increased in 2011 as compared to the paltry 15% in 2009. The study indicates overall network quality averages 11.2 problems per 100 calls (PP100), with customers reporting more problems with mobile web and email (14.8 PP100, on average).

The survey indicates the low satisfaction levels with cost of service have led to increases in switching intent among wireless customers. Canadians are now more open to the idea of switching to one of the new wireless service providers (including WIND Mobile, Public Mobile and Mobilicity) if its offerings met their needs. Is it a sign of things to come in the future? Would it serve as a timely reminder to the “Big Three” to adopt more customer friendly pricing strategies? I do not know.

As far as wireless service provider rankings go, Videotron, Koodo Mobile and SaskTel took the top honors in the eastern, Ontario and western regions respectively. Ironical as it seems, the Big Three aren’t listed amongst the top three carriers in any region. Wireless newcomers including Wind Mobile, Public Mobile and Mobilicity seem to be in a favorable position as a number of customers look to jump ship to low-cost, contract-free carriers.

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Written by: Gaurav Kheterpal. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.comby: RSS,TwitterFacebook, or YouTube.

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