Wireless Satisfaction Improving, Even As Expectations Rise

Wireless companies have done a decent job of meeting customer expectations for network performance so far, but as they raise expectations through marketing, they could run into problems in the future. 

According to J.D. Power’s latest Wireless Network Quality report, the percentage of consumers reporting “slower than expected” data speeds on their 4G devices dropped from 18% to 14% in two years. 

Overall satisfaction has improved even as more consumers are connecting advanced devices to their networks. According to the study, the number of customers using 4G-enabled devices has increased with more than three-quarters of consumers using a 4G-enabled device, up from 59% in 2014. 

“There are still some quality metrics [that are lacking], particularly with the speed of Web and data streaming,” Kirk Parsons, senior director and technology, media & telecom practice leader at J.D. Power, tells Marketing Daily. “With the increase of people using phones for high-intensity data, you’re going to get some hiccups.”



Moreover, those who experience slower-than-expected connection speeds are more likely to switch carriers. With so many carriers touting their network speed and connections through their marketing, they are creating heightened expectations, leading to possible increased churn, Parsons says. 

“They’re creating this animal, particularly when it comes to speed. When [your marketing is] saying, ‘My network is the best,’ you raise expectations,” Parsons says. “The carriers still have to keep an eye on expectations, particularly when it comes to data.”

As more of these devices connect to the networks, it’s reasonable to expect customer satisfaction will decrease if they see an interference with network performance, Parsons says. That’s why the networks are so actively and publicly exploring the possibility of a “5G” network, which is several years off. 

“They’re all looking at that as the savior, and they need as much of the airwaves as possible,” Parsons says. “Some are better positioned than others.”

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