Wireless carrier loyalty fleeting at best

Summary:WDS, a Xerox unit, stress tested whether customers would stick with carriers if prices were increased or cut and whether there was a data breach.

Thirty six percent of U.S. wireless carrier customers are considering jumping ship in the next year and only 13 percent of customers say they are loyal to their provider, according to a survey.

WDS, a Xerox unit that sells customer experience management software to wireless carriers, conducted an audit of carrier loyalty. The audit stress tested whether customers would stick with carriers if prices were increased or cut and whether there was a data breach.

The data adds credence to worries that wireless carriers are merely commodity pipes to apps and content. WDS maintained that churn may be underestimated by carriers and customer loyalty metrics such as Net Promoter Scores (NPS) are flawed.



It's worth pondering the results should unlocked smartphones become the norm in the U.S. Typically, devices are sold with two-year voice and data plans and provide some measure of lock-in. Among the key stats:

  • 23 percent of customers highly satisfied with their wireless carriers are at risk for switching.
  • 19 percent of switch risks were NPS Promoters.
  • 27 percent said they wouldn't switch carriers because it was too inconvenient.
  • 35 percent of at risk customers thought they got poor value for the money they pay carriers.
  • 40 percent of customers who were switch risks said they felt they weren't valued.

Other variables worth noting:

  • 69 percent of customers who didn't plan on switching would if a carrier raised prices 10 percent.
  • 15 percent of customers would switch immediately with a 10 percent price increase.
  • 70 percent of highly satisfied customers would consider a switch if prices were raised 10 percent.
  • If a carrier cut prices by 10 percent, only 31 percent of customers unlikely to switch would.

Topics: Mobility, Bring Your Own Device, Enterprise Software


Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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