SA unhappy with cellphone operators

2012-08-01 09:22
The majority of South Africans are unhappy with the service offered by the mobile operators. (RIM)

The majority of South Africans are unhappy with the service offered by the mobile operators. (RIM)

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Cape Town - The majority of mobile phone subscribers in South African are unhappy with the operators, industry research has shown.

A massive 70% of subscribers are unhappy with their current network and a significant percentage would consider switching, according to research from independent ad network InMobi.

Counter-intuitively, price is not the most compelling complaint as only 17% directly indicated that they were unhappy because of it.

Most (25%) are frustrated with limited data coverage, and hidden charges (8%) and customer service (7%) made up the top four grievances.

The research suggested that 36% would switch to a competing network if it offered better data coverage and offers to be on the same network as friends or family attracted 31% of interest.

Data revenues

As competition in the South African market heats up, the operators have been driving data revenues up through various offers.

"The demand remains strong; there's strong competition in the SA market. Data revenue is up 24% year-on-year. The active data customers [are] up 35%: Now just over 12 million [and] all of the 12 million are buying data bundles on a monthly basis," Vodacom CEO Pieter Uys told News24 when the operator released its annual results.

The survey showed that 46% of mobile phone users would switch networks if the right offer came along and 11% are actively looking to switch.

In the eyes of consumers, Vodacom has the strongest brand association, scoring 57% for customer service, 60% for network coverage, and 42% for value.

MTN consistently scored in second place, average just over 30%. Cell C was third, but Telkom's 8ta didn't make it on to the results.

Cell C is on a charge to increase its market share in SA and recently launched its 99 Cents for Real campaign.

New CEO Alan Knott-Craig said that the operator was on a charge to build a better network.


"The number one priority is I have to make sure that we can build a world class quality network with a footprint which is competitive or better than the other network operators. We cannot build a company without a proper network," he told News24.

According to the InMobi survey, 51% of consumers want free bonus talk time and 38% want bonus data from their network.

The growth is data is particularly driven by smartphones which have growing in SA as pricing continues to decline and a growing percentage have a data bundle attached, Vodacom said.

"Smartphones remain the key driver of the data revenue growth - the active smartphones growing by two million in the year. Smartphones are now making up a fifth of our active handsets," said Uys.

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Read more on:    mtn  |  cell c  |  vodacom  |  mobile

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