Feature Article

September 04, 2015

Mobile Performance Perception Improves; But Don't Get Comfortable

Is it true that as consumers we are never satisfied? We get very excited about the next iPhone, the latest app craze and the special effects in the summer blockbuster, but do we walk away from each experience satisfied or yearning for more? When it comes to mobility, the latter tends to be true. Yes, we get excited about the latest and greatest, but quickly increase our expectations, sometimes faster than innovations will allow.

Consider the smartphone craze of the last few years. When the BlackBerry gave way to the iPhone and Android quickly followed, we all needed instant connectivity and entertainment at our fingertips. Whether our professional lives required us to be connected at all times or not, we opted for the privilege and networks felt the pressure.

The challenge, of course, was that networks couldn’t build out broadband improvements at the pace we demanded it. Sure, they responded and started down the road to improvements, especially to ensure loss of coverage was never an issue. But once we had a taste of instant access, our expectations no longer matched the pace at which infrastructure can be built out. And it hasn’t stopped.

In a Vasona Network Inc. survey of smartphone users, findings suggest that demand for Internet performance among smartphone users continues to grow. The good news for the provider is the same survey also shows there is an increasing satisfaction with mobile data service performance, making consumers more willing to recommend their provider.

The most dangerous thing that provider can do, however, is to assume they’ve arrived at their target. Mobile data performance perceptions have improved, but consumers are looking for consistent upgrades and that creates moving targets when trying to meet expectations. Any provider standing still is in trouble, and those unable or unwilling to study trends and anticipate perception shifts run the risk of losing ground in the long-term.

Considering data from the survey, the importance of mobile Internet performance when selecting a service provider increased to 35 percent this year, from 32 percent in 2014. Good mobile data performance all of the time (meaning no outages or hiccups) is an expectation among 73 percent of users. As 32 percent upgraded their mobile data plans in the past year and an additional 10 percent plan to do so within the next year, the opportunity to secure ongoing revenue is strong for the right performers.

While the survey shows that user satisfaction is improving, that doesn’t mean it’s all downhill from here for service providers. The onus is still on them to stay ahead of the game. Many have learned valuable lessons since the launch of the first iPhone, yet innovation doesn’t stand still. Assuming there isn’t more work to do can hurt in the long-run. Therefore, no service provider should get comfortable—our journey to complete connectivity has likely just begun. 

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino

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