Despite Free Wi-Fi, 70% Rate Mobile Broadband As an Important Service
Acision has published consumer research that delved into Singaporean perceptions on mobile broadband use, highlighting significant opportunities for carriers to improve customer loyalty through the provision of high quality mobile broadband services.
The research conducted by Toluna questioned 1,000 mobile broadband users in Singapore, revealing that 70% of consumers continued to rate mobile broadband as an important service that they wanted to keep in the future despite having access to free public Wi-Fi. Results further unearthed the waning popularity of public Wi-Fi as an alternative to mobile broadband, with the majority of respondents experiencing Quality of Service issues such as slow speeds (61%) and only 6% willing to take a fully paid subscription for Wireless@SG in 2013, when it is expected the service will be commercialised. Taking this into account, there is a clear opportunity for operators to differentiate their mobile broadband services based on enhancing the consumer's Quality of Experience (QoE) to gain competitive advantage.
However, despite the continued popularity of mobile broadband and the opportunity available to operators, 83% of consumers have faced QoE issues, with problems encountered including slow speeds (68%), network coverage (42%) and getting connected (38%). Slow speeds were also identified as the main reason behind subscribers cancelling contracts or switching carriers, with operators potentially facing a churn rate of 31% and missing out on critical opportunities to monetise broadband services and retain loyal subscribers.
Mark Williams, Senior Vice President and General Manager for Asia Pacific, Acision said: "As local regulatory bodies continue to push for initiatives to increase consumer visibility of real Internet broadband speeds, service providers need to urgently address issues faced by consumers to drive up the demand for mobile broadband by providing a high quality experience. With around 43% of consumers willing to pay premium rates for improved QoE and over 50% keen on adopting value-added services (VAS) as part of their mobile broadband plan, it is clear that operators need to seize the opportunity, address pertinent challenges and increase mobile broadband profitability through effective bandwidth management, content optimisation and service differentiation."
Consumers express support for increased fairness
There was an overall lack of awareness around the issue of fair use policies, with 65% of respondents not knowing if their carrier had a policy in place. 63% of those surveyed were unaware that a small number of users could generate over 80% of broadband traffic in many networks - causing slow download speeds and connection problems. When made aware of the fair distribution of bandwidth, 80% of consumers responded positively to adopting an approach aimed at distributing bandwidth between as many people as possible to ease congestion and benefit all users.
Consumers open to measures to optimise video services
Video continues to be one of the largest contributors to QoE issues faced by consumers, with 45% of respondents regularly watching videos via mobile devices and 80% of those experiencing issues. While most are prepared to wait up to ten seconds for content to play, consumers identified stalling as the most unacceptable QoE problem, with waiting (47%) and frequent pausing (47%) being the main complaints.
This trend presents an additional opportunity for carriers to differentiate their services, with 66% of video users supportive of content optimisation if it translated to improved waiting times and the elimination of video pauses through a reduction in video size.
"Our findings in Singapore are congruent with results from similar Acision studies conducted in UK and US with YouGov (click here for UK and US results) and show the need for local operators to take lessons from more established mobile markets, and solve QoE issues before they result in churn. This is critical as Singapore continues to enjoy an increasing mobile penetration rate," said Steven van Zanen, Senior Vice President Marketing, Mobile Broadband, at Acision.
"By setting policies that govern the fair distribution of mobile broadband bandwidth, while optimising video content, carriers can improve QoE and sustain customer loyalty. Additionally, by employing techniques such as traffic flow control and video flow control, as well as prioritising cell traffic to help better manage peak traffic, operators can maximise network potential and manage relevant service aspects while leveraging content through viable partnerships in the Internet ecosystems. This will ensure that they are well placed to differentiate premium and value added mobile broadband services to grow ARPU and profitability in an increasingly competitive mobile data environment," concluded van Zanen.
The research was carried out by Toluna between November 10, 2010, and November 15, 2010. The results in this release are from a representative sample of 1,000 mobile broadband users in Singapore aged 18 and above.