Assessing the Credibility of Consumer Satisfaction Surveys

by Istvan Fekete on May 9, 2014

The current state of Canadian wireless competition differs according to which way you look at it. Months after the federal government launched a $9 million advertising campaign calling for more competition and lower prices in the wireless market, different studies have found different issues.

A new, government-commissioned poll found that Canadians are actually paying much more for wireless services, and that there are fewer competitors in the market.

A J.D. Power survey, however, found exactly the opposite: Canadians are paying $7 less for their cellphone bills, and found that regional player SaskTel is the best full-service carrier across the country.

So, what’s really happening? Who is right? Well, like my father said, everybody is right in their own way: fact is, since the CRTC’s new wireless code was enacted, the incumbents have raised the prices of some of their wireless services.

The government, however, has information about a price drop in wireless services – maybe they haven’t read this new study – because a government representative has informed an NPD representative, during a public debate in the House of Commons, that the government is proud that wireless service prices are down 20% compared to 2008.

A couple of thoughts on the survey report commissioned by the government and reported by the CBC. To compare the credibility of the two surveys we need to know how many successful interviews were conducted, and when.

The disappointment comes when we look at the number of individuals surveyed: 2002 interviews conducted by phone December 9–17, 2013. This is a very limited number of individuals.

This contrasts with the J.D. Power survey fielded in October 2013 and March 2014, which involved 12,474 mobile service customers. Now, if we compare to two surveys, I think the latter carries much more weight.

This doesn’t mean, though, that everything is fine in the Canadian wireless landscape: it all depends on your perspective. If we look at the market from the incumbents’ perspective, everything is fine. For wireless startups, however, the view is not quite as rosy.

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Written by: Istvan Fekete. Follow by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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