US Mobile Broadband Research Highlights Consumer Quality of Experience Frustrations but Openness to Pay a Fee for Carrier Measures That Improve Services

Oct 19, 2010, 13:00 ET from Acision UK Ltd

PLANO, Texas, October 19, 2010 /PRNewswire/ --

- 74% Report Quality Issues, Citing Slow Speeds, Poor Network Coverage, Inability to get Connected and Connection Loss

- 63% Express Support for Active Approach to Fairness Aimed at Distributing Bandwidth to Ease Congestion

New consumer research launched today by international research organization, YouGov, and Acision, a world leader in mobile data, sheds new light on the Quality of Experience (QoE) challenges faced by US carriers with the delivery of mobile broadband services today. The research - which questioned US consumers about their mobile broadband experience on smartphones, laptops and other mobile handsets - found that, despite the rising popularity of mobile broadband, 74% had experienced QoE issues. The most encountered problems were slow speeds (60%), poor network coverage (35%), inability to get connected (29%) and connection loss (29%). However, up to 63% of those surveyed said they would be willing to pay a small fee for services that improve QoE.

This new research echoes findings from a similar YouGov/Acision survey conducted in the UK earlier this summer (click here for UK mobile broadband research), ( http://www.acision.com/News-and-Events/Press-Releases/United-Kingdom/2010/You Gov-Research-Mobile-Broadband.aspx) and reinforces the mobile broadband Quality of Service (QoS) challenges experienced across the globe today. These issues were also spotlighted in the Federal Communications Commission's Broadband Performance report released in August, which noted that mobile broadband download speeds experienced by consumers lag advertised speeds, an issue the YouGov/Acision survey identified as one of the principle sources of frustration among mobile subscribers.

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"The YouGov/Acision data on the consumer mobile broadband experience comes at a critically important time for the mobile industry, as we witness exponential growth in mobile broadband usage and network congestion problems as a result of this uptake," said Steven van Zanen, senior vice president marketing, Mobile Broadband, at Acision. "This research offers a valuable perspective on the challenges facing carriers in the US today, providing insights into consumer perceptions on mobile broadband quality of experience, their frustrations with the service and their willingness to accept QoE improvement measures.

"Acision has identified three areas where carriers can deploy capabilities to address these Quality of Service issues - the adoption of measures that ensure fairness for all, the optimization of data traffic, and the differentiation of mobile broadband services."

Consumers express support for increased fairness

On the issue of fairness policies, the survey found that 76% of respondents were not aware if their carrier had a policy in place - considerably higher than the 56% result in the UK. 65% of those surveyed were unaware that in many networks just a small number of users generate over 80% of broadband traffic, causing slow download speeds and connection problems. When those surveyed were made aware of the issues surrounding the fair distribution of bandwidth, over half of consumers responded positively to an active approach to fairness aimed at distributing bandwidth between as many people as possible to ease congestion to benefit all users (63%). Between 30% and 63% of respondents even agreed they would be open to pay a small fee for carrier measures that meant a better broadband service.

Consumers open to measures to optimize video services

The research also confirmed the popularity of video services, with almost half of consumers questioned (49%) accessing data-hungry video sites via their mobile connection. However, in line with this, the research highlighted that of those consumers accessing video services, over three quarters (78%) encountered QoE issues such as frequent pauses, and as many as 68% experienced these problems on a regular basis.

With so many experiencing video quality of service issues on their mobile devices, the research also indicated that over two thirds of video users (69%) would accept an optimization policy that improves performance of a video service. For example, consumers were supportive of measures carriers could take to improve the quality of mobile video by decreasing video size to enable uninterrupted playback.

Consumers willing to pay fee for mobile broadband service enhancements

The research also demonstrated the opportunities available to carriers to differentiate their mobile broadband services. Consumers surveyed stated they would be willing to pay a small fee to receive services such as notifications when they have reached a certain spend limit on their mobile broadband service (48%), fair distribution of bandwidth between consumers (45%), personalization capabilities (46%), a bundle sharing plan (46%) and the ability to set spending limits on their mobile broadband account (42%).

Russell Feldman, Associate Director at YouGov, said, "There is a common message we are seeing from the research conducted in both the USA and UK. Mobile broadband customers need more communication on the issues affecting their experience with the service. We believe they are capable of recognizing there are problems with the service and are open to creative ways of dealing with them. Data caps are but one tool available to carriers but the research shows that consumers will consider other service differentiators if given the choice."

"Consumers are beginning to realize that mobile broadband is not an infinite resource and that at certain times or in certain places, the Quality of Experience is under pressure," stated van Zanen. "In a bid to curb and control these issues, operators around the world are implementing data caps and tiered service offerings, as well as making investments in their networks. However, these measures alone won't ease the pressure we are seeing today."

"The YouGov/Acision research indicates that consumers would like carriers to intervene in order to improve Quality of Experience issues, and we are seeing broad consumer support for carriers to deploy capabilities to define fairness for all users, optimize video and provide service differentiation. Moreover, the willingness among consumers to pay a small fee for a more personalized offering presents carriers with a revenue generating opportunity, providing a key differentiator outside of price and usage allowance. By acting now and asserting control over mobile data, carriers have a solid base to raise satisfaction and loyalty levels while at the same time decreasing customer churn and providing a brighter mobile broadband future for all," concluded van Zanen.

Research:

The research was carried out by YouGov, the international market research agency between October 1, 2010, and October 8, 2010. The results in this release are from a representative sample of 502 mobile broadband users in the U.S. aged 18 and above.

About Acision

As a world leader in mobile data, Acision powers innovation and profitable growth in mobile data services. As a pioneer of mobile messaging, Acision's real time mobile data solutions support its customers worldwide to drive new revenues with innovative services while controlling, optimising and monetising data traffic. For more information, visit Acision at http://www.acision.com

About YouGov

YouGov is an international, full-service research company primarily using online panels to provide quantitative and qualitative research across a range of specialisms. YouGov operates a quality panel of about 320,000 UK members representing all ages, socio-economic groups and other demographic types, with excellent response rates.

YouGov has been acclaimed as the UK's most accurate opinion pollster and dominates Britain's media polling. YouGov is one of the most quoted agencies in Britain and has a well-documented and published track record illustrating the success of its survey methods and quality of its client service work. For further information, visit http://www.yougov.com

SOURCE Acision UK Ltd