Monday, January 30, 2006

In-Stat: Carriers Beware! About 80% of In-Stat’s Survey Respondents Would Consider Buying Service from an MVNO

According to new research from In-Stat,
"the recent growth of strongly branded Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MNVOs) is creating a new way to compete for current subscribers and offering opportunities for significantly increased Average Revenue Per User (ARPU)." This is creating an even more competitive market "with more than two-thirds of US residents current cellular subscribers, and more than 20 MVNOs in operation and many in the planning stages."

An In-Stat survey of 1,017 present cellular users and those with plans to obtain service within 12 months found that:

  • About 80% of both planned and current cellular subscribers would consider buying service from an MVNO.
  • Compared to other providers, customers of the smaller US national carriers are likely to churn and represent potential prospects for MVNO services.
  • Most wireless purchasing decisions are based on three main factors; coverage, service quality and price.
  • Consumers considering wireless usage may be swayed by payment flexibility and cash payment options.
  • Respondents who are not yet wireless customers will likely talk less than current subscribers; however, they offer a greater potential for usage of data services.
  • Consumers considering wireless usage believe they will purchase ring tones and games more than current wireless users.
  • Consumers considering subscribing to wireless services will want to see camera phone/MMS services, in particular, as well as SMS/instant messaging and PIM services as part of the offering. Both current and planned wireless users express the most interest in subscribing to wireless services offered by major consumer electronics brands and non-wireless telecommunications companies.
  • Psychographic factor analysis found five distinct psychographic profiles including hard-charging commuters, sports fans, music fanatics, city dwellers and young professionals.
Interesting how handsets and their features, speeds and feeds that gadget geeks like myself drool over don't seem to be a factor in this survey. Just another sign that the mainstream consumer is very different from the early adopter crowd here in the U.S. Will the U.S. market ever reach a point where consumers choose the handset first and then the network operator as in other countries?