Mobile coverage is driving Australian network switching: Opensignal

Users leaving Optus and Vodafone were found to have experienced more time with no signal before jumping to another network.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor
Image: Opensignal

Opensignal has said it found Optus and Vodafone users that switch carriers experienced more time without a mobile signal before they making the jump, compared to the rest of the respective telco customers.

Those on Optus and Vodafone that shifted carriers experienced 1.7 to 1.9 times the average time without signal before moving, while Telstra users that left had no "statistically significant difference" between switchers and those that stayed.

Prior to leaving, users on Optus and Vodafone also had less time on the 4G network, while Telstra did not show a significant difference.

"Most likely, mobile experience has a lower impact on Telstra leavers' choice because of the extent of Telstra's 4G network," Opensignal said.

"Instead, other reasons likely explain Telstra churn, for example [are] relative price, handset choice, or marketing execution."

Of all the carriers, Telstra users had the most time without signal. Opensignal principal technical analyst Francesco Rizzato told ZDNet that since Telstra had the best 4G coverage, it suggests users in remote areas choose the telco.

"When we analysed the mobile experience across Australia's urban and rural areas, we found that our users on average had a worse download speed experience and 4G availability in rural areas compared to urban areas," Rizzato said.

"This means that, when we produce analysis at the national level, mobile operators focusing their efforts in urban areas could potentially score an higher 4G availability and a lower time with no signal compared to other operators having a nationwide focus, but would score lower in 4G coverage experience.

"Based on the findings of our analysis, mobile operators with an urban focus will likely have a lower share of mobile subscribers in rural areas, as users having a poor mobile connection are more likely to change operators, and look for a network with a better coverage."

In the 30 days after switching, Opensignal said users experienced little difference in coverage, with the one exception being former Vodafone users that saw a boost in 4G coverage.

"Mobile operators with a good mobile network experience need to improve their marketing to communicate the value of a high quality experience to increase mobile subscriber retention," Opensignal said.

"Finally, focusing network investments on reducing the gap between users with the worst and best mobile experience would help operators reduce churn."

Image: Opensignal

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