Customer satisfaction with contract and prepaid wireless service providers in Canada has increased substantially during the past year, according to a J.D. Power report. They report that SaskTel Mobility ranks highest in customer satisfaction among contract service providers, while Virgin Mobile ranks highest among prepaid providers. LG is the highest-ranking mobile phone brand.
"The customer satisfaction gains we're seeing across the wireless industry are impressive, highlighting the efforts wireless providers are making to please their customers," said Charles Schade, senior director of research at J.D. Power and Associates. "Customer satisfaction is more important than ever in the wireless industry as the requirement to implement number portability approaches in March 2007, removing one of the main obstacles customers face when switching providers."
Contract Service Segment
Customer satisfaction with contract service has increased over 2005. Additionally, all wireless service providers included in both the 2005 and 2006 contract service rankings register substantial improvements from 2005. Overall satisfaction with contract service is based on five factors: call quality, billing, service plan options, cost of service and customer service.
With a strong improvement from 2005, SaskTel Mobility remains the highest-ranking contract service provider for a second consecutive year. Posting an overall index score of 728, SaskTel receives the highest ratings in call quality, service plan options and customer service. SaskTel is followed in the rankings by Fido (713), Telus Mobility (687), Aliant (685) and MTS Mobility (682), respectively.
"Contract service providers have been focusing on value during the past year, clearly promoting a message of affordability for all consumers," said Schade. "However, while favourable pricing attracts new customers, call quality has increased in importance to become the most influential driver of satisfaction, signaling rising expectations among consumers."
According to the study, the average number of minutes contracted for a weekday service plan is 187, though customers report using only 51 percent of those minutes. Contract customers use an average of 16 long-distance minutes, which accounts for only 29 percent of their contracted amount.
Prepaid Service Segment
The study finds that satisfaction with prepaid providers is also up significantly over 2005. Five factors are measured to determine customer satisfaction with prepaid service: service plan options, billing, call quality, cost of service and customer service.
Virgin Mobile (764) ranks highest among prepaid service providers for a second consecutive year, receiving the highest segment ratings in all five factor areas. Aliant (692) and Telus Mobility (691), respectively, follow.
Although prepaid service doesn't have the same penetration rates as contract service, it is significantly less expensive on a monthly basis. The average monthly fee paid by contract customers is $74, compared with $29 for prepaid customers. Forty two percent of prepaid customers had previously used a contract service.
Mobile Phone Satisfaction
Mobile phone satisfaction is measured based on customer ratings of five factors: features, physical design, durability, battery and operation. Satisfaction with mobile phones also increased over 2005.
With a strong improvement from 2005, LG (732) ranks highest among mobile phone brands, performing particularly well in features, designs and operation. LG is followed in the rankings by Sanyo (727), Samsung (724) and Sony Ericsson (722), respectively.
"Wireless users increasingly rely on their mobile phones to keep them connected to their schedules, contacts, and e-mail, as well as entertainment services," said Schade. "The number of standard features on phones is continuously expanding, with nearly one-half phones now offering features such as colour screens, SMS, Internet access and games. However, room still exists for the consumers' ever-growing appetite for features."
The 2006 Canadian Wireless Customer Satisfaction Study is based on responses from nearly 6,000 mobile phone users. Respondents were surveyed in October 2006."
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