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Life in the fast lane

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An Ericsson ConsumerLab report reveals the impact of network speed on the satisfaction and loyalty of Saudi consumers towards their mobile operators in the kingdom. Report findings show that network …

An Ericsson ConsumerLab report reveals the impact of network speed on the satisfaction and loyalty of Saudi consumers towards their mobile operators in the kingdom. Report findings show that network speed in Saudi Arabia also impacts the adoption of advanced services – more users on faster networks are accessing data services like mobile payment and video calls.

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  • 1. CONSUMERLAB LIFE IN THE FAST LANE How network speed affects user behavior in Saudi Arabia An Ericsson Consumer Insight Summary Report June 2014
  • 2. Ericsson ConsumerLab has close to 20 years’ experience of studying people’s behaviors and values, including the way they act and think about ICT products and services. Ericsson ConsumerLab provides unique insights on market and consumer trends. Ericsson ConsumerLab gains its knowledge through a global consumer research program based on interviews with 100,000 individuals each year, in more than 40 countries and 15 megacities – statistically representing the views of 1.1 billion people. Both quantitative and qualitative methods are used, and hundreds of hours are spent with consumers from different cultures. To be close to the market and consumers, Ericsson ConsumerLab has analysts in all regions where Ericsson is present, developing a thorough global understanding of the ICT market and business models. All ConsumerLab reports can be found at: www.ericsson.com/consumerlab 2  ERICSSON CONSUMERLAB LIFE IN THE FAST LANE the voice of the consumer METHODOLOGY This study seeks to investigate how network speed affects mobile broadband user behavior in Saudi Arabia. A number of interviews were carried out using qualitative and quantitative methods. The respondents were people living in urban regions, aged 15–69. All were mobile internet users with either a dongle or mobile phone. The faster network behavior comparison analysis sections are based only on mobile internet users with phones. The findings are estimated to represent 35 percent of the total population of Saudi Arabia. They encompass 6 focus group meetings in Riyadh and Jeddah, as well as the following interview methods: > 1,279 quantitative interviews – 663 online interviews – 351 face-to-face interviews The fieldwork period took place in the later half of 2013, with a ratio of 72 percent prepaid and 28 percent postpaid users. contents METHODOLOGY 2 BEHAVIORAL DIFFERENCES 3 A DIVERSE MARKETPLACE 4 SATISFACTION VS. IMPORTANCE 5 CUSTOMER CARE COUNTS 6 VOICE AND MESSAGING 7 OVER THE INTERNET FASTER NETWORK, NEW BEHAVIOR 8 THE KEY TO A BETTER EXPERIENCE 9 WI-FI VS. MOBILE BROADBAND 10 IDENTIFYING BARRIERS 11
  • 3. Perceived slower networks ERICSSON CONSUMERLAB LIFE IN THE FAST LANE 3 VS. BEHAVIORAL DIFFERENCES > Faster networks are affecting user behavior Users on faster networks behave differently to users on slower networks. In both samples, the users’ profiles are very similar, and the early adopter segments are not overrepresented in faster networks. However, mobile broadband smartphone users on faster networks tend to have a more positive perception of the network operator, and the number of promoters (users who recommend their operators) is also higher. > User priorities are changing Value for money and network performance are two important areas that impact satisfaction. However, network performance is not generally a concern for users on faster networks. > Advanced services are used more Advanced services such as internet/ video calls, mobile payments and tethering are used significantly more by users on faster networks, compared to those on slower networks. > Toggling between connections is decreasing Indoor Wi-Fi used to be preferred to mobile broadband as a way of connecting to the internet. However, due to the perceived good service provided by faster networks, toggling between the two types of connections from location to location is decreasing. > Perceived extra costs are a deterrent There is a misguided perception in Saudi Arabia that faster networks are more expensive. This is one of the main barriers preventing people from subscribing to them. Key findings Mobile broadband is right at the center of consumers’ lives, from the moment they wake up until the end of the day. As more advanced applications become popular, perceived network performance and reliability have a significant impact on users’ satisfaction and loyalty. In this study, we compared the differences in mobile broadband users’ behavior when using data on networks perceived as faster and networks perceived as slower. The networks perceived to be faster were in this case represented by 4G networks, and the networks perceived to be slower were represented by 3G networks. Perceived faster networks
  • 4. Who are the faster network users? In this study, the behavior of mobile broadband users who had subscribed to faster and slower networks is compared. Between these two groups the nationality and age composition is very similar.The two samples were also analyzed from an early-late adopter perspective. The majority of early adopters were from the youth segment, with experience-oriented, career-focused profiles, while late adopters include basic and family-phone profiles. The proportion of early adopters in both samples is very similar, with no ‘early adopter effect’ in the faster sample. We therefore consider them to be comparable samples. The level of technology adoption among users on faster and slower networks correlates with what would be expected from their user profiles. This means that from a behavior perspective, any differences are due to network speed. Total sample A customized ConsumerLab mobile internet segmentation model has been developed for Saudi Arabia to identify different user groups. The region is a diverse market made up of many different nationalities. In our mobile broadband user sample, 62 percent of the respondents were Saudi nationals and 38 percent were expats. The Saudi national segment consisted of two parts: Saudi adults and Saudi youth. Saudi adults make up nearly half of the total mobile broadband users in the region. There is also a significant expat Arab community, comprising 29 percent of the total mobile broadband users. 4  ERICSSON CONSUMERLAB LIFE IN THE FAST LANE Source: Ericsson ConsumerLab 2014, Life in the fast lane Base: Mobile broadband users in Saudi Arabia Source: Ericsson ConsumerLab 2014, Life in the fast lane Base: Mobile broadband smartphone users in Saudi Arabia Figure 1: Mobile broadband user segments in Saudi Arabia Figure 2: Network user profiles in Saudi Arabia A DIVERSE MARKETPLACE 15–24 years Saudi locals Early adopters 25–34 years Expat Arabs Early followers Expat Asians Late adopters Others35–44 years 45–54 years 55–59 years Slower network user profile Faster network user profile 62% Saudis 46% Saudi adults 38% Expats 27% Saudi parents 29% Expat Arabs 9% Saudi parents – others 18% Career-focused Saudi parents 16% Expat Arab parents 19% Saudi singles 13% Expat Arab singles 16% Saudi youth 9% Expat Asians
  • 5. From the moment a consumer enters the operator’s retail store, there are many factors affecting their satisfaction. But which factor has the biggest impact? To address this question, regression analysis* was conducted. This calculates the correlation factor between the different elements in regards to contribution to the overall customer satisfaction score. Figure 3 plots the impact of different elements on customer satisfaction versus the current level of satisfaction for each element. For users, value for money and network performance are the most important factors that impact satisfaction. However, there is also a very strong correlation between the two. Network performance satisfaction is relatively high compared to other factors, however the satisfaction with value for money is only moderate. ERICSSON CONSUMERLAB LIFE IN THE FAST LANE  5 Satisfaction vs. importance Source: Ericsson ConsumerLab 2014, Life in the fast lane Base: Mobile broadband users in Saudi Arabia Figure 3: Satisfaction vs. importance Customer service Offer Marketing Network 14131211109876 6.4 6.6 6.8 7.0 7.2 7.4 7.6 7.8 Handset offered Initial purchase Account management Ongoing communication Loyalty rewards Customer support Tariffs Billing Value for money Network performance Derived performance (%) Satisfaction Source: Ericsson ConsumerLab 2014, Life in the fast lane Base: Mobile broadband smartphone users in Saudi Arabia * Shapley regression analysis, showing the relative impact between satisfaction with each driver and operator satisfaction. Figure 4: Top five drivers for user satisfaction with operator Slower network mobile data users Faster network mobile data users Customer service Offer Network Price plan/tariff options Value for money Network performance Customer support Customer support Price plan/tariff options Value for money Billing and payments Billing and payment Account management Customer support is also an area of high importance with a comparatively low level of satisfaction, and should therefore be prioritized. On the other hand, satisfaction with loyalty rewards is low, but also lower on the scale of priorities. Figure 4 reflects the perspective of users receiving services from slower and faster networks. For smartphone users subscribed to the faster network, value for money and customer support are the most important factors impacting satisfaction. At first glance, network performance does not seem to be a high priority for users on better performing networks. The reason is that once users are accustomed to having a good performance, they stop thinking about it and focus on other things. However, they tend to be sensitive to any degradation in performance, and should this happen it would quickly become high priority again. 15% 14% 12% 13% 11% 16% 13% 11% 12% 10%
  • 6. 6  ERICSSON CONSUMERLAB LIFE IN THE FAST LANE CUSTOMER CARE COUNTS Consumers interact with many different service providers throughout their daily lives, from retail stores to banks. When interacting with their mobile operators, they do not compare the customer service experience with other operators, but to service providers in different sectors. Figure 5 below illustrates that customer satisfaction across the banking, retail, mobile operator and airline industries is compared. The results show that satisfaction with mobile operators’ customer service lags behind other industries in many areas, including speed of service and users’ ability to get help. In today’s world, mobile phones are lifelines. Mobile services play a vital role in consumers’ lives, and the majority do not expect to have problems with their smartphones. If a problem occurs, they expect immediate resolution. 50 percent of users said that personalized and knowledgeable customer service support is extremely important to them, even if they have to pay extra for it. We want the service provider to listen to us. Even if the speed is good, I won’t choose a provider that doesn’t listen because I can’t take the headache.” Local male Suffering in silence Customer support plays a major role in the satisfaction of mobile broadband users, as more and more use different channels to seek a resolution to their problems. A robust customer support service is absolutely necessary. In general, customer support for voice services is perceived to be better than for data services. Figure 6 shows that 31 percent said customer support for voice services is always better than data services, and only 7 percent said the opposite. Similar results are observed in both faster and slower networks. But what about the complaints that never reach customer care? Around 75 percent of the users say that they report less than half of the problems they experience. This means that operators actually know very little about what is really happening. These unspoken complaints could easily turn into negative perception, and lead to negative word of mouth. To help combat this, operators should consider moving their service quality management from ‘reactive’ to ‘predictive’ mode. Source: Ericsson ConsumerLab 2014, Life in the fast lane Base: Mobile broadband users in Saudi Arabia Courteous staff Good online support Timely service Easy to get help Efficient complaint handling User-friendly hours of operation Modern branches/stores 20% 40% Multi-brand retail stores Banking Airlines Mobile phone operators Figure 5: Percentage (top two agree) of respondents who agree that the following statement describes their experience of different industries within the different areas of customer service Source: Ericsson ConsumerLab 2014, Life in the fast lane Base: Mobile broadband users in Saudi Arabia Figure 6: Customer support for voice services is perceived as better than for data services Always Sometimes Sometimes Always Customer support for data services is better Customer support for voice services is better 31% 11% 21% 7%
  • 7. Saudi Arabian mobile broadband users make use of internet-based communication services quite frequently. At least 29 percent make video calls over the internet on a daily basis, while 85 percent make regular phone calls through their mobile service providers. Instant messaging (IM) over the internet is used more than SMS. On average, 63 percent of mobile broadband users regularly use IM services, while 53 percent of them choose SMS. An important point to note is that IM is much more popular among the younger user segments.These segments are more cost-aware compared to adults. In addition, presence, group conversations and the ability to record voice clips and share functionalities are further reasons for the young being drawn to IM services. According to Figure 9, those involved in the study who make calls over the internet said that out of every 10 calls, 3 are made over the internet and 7 are made through mobile service providers. Out of every 10 voice/ video calls made over the internet, nearly half of them are local calls. Only 2 out of 10 mobile internet calls are international calls. ERICSSON CONSUMERLAB LIFE IN THE FAST LANE  7 Voice and MESSAGING over the internet Smartphones have made our lives easier. For a video call we don’t have to go through the hassle of setting up a desktop and webcam or a laptop – we can do it easily on our mobile phones.” Expat Asian Source: Ericsson ConsumerLab 2014, Life in the fast lane Base: Mobile broadband users doing internet calls on their mobile phones Local calls Domestic long distance calls International calls 5.5 2.4 2.1 Figure 9: Destination of calls made over the internet per 10 calls Source: Ericsson ConsumerLab 2014, Life in the fast lane Base: Mobile broadband users in Saudi Arabia Figure 7: Is the instant messaging phenomenon mainly limited to young people? Calls Instant messaging service Videotelephony or video calls SMS Internet calls without video Percentage of daily usage 15–19 15–19 0 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 20–24 20–2425–29 25–2930–39 30–3940–49 40–49 Age Age Average of all users Average of all users 85% 63% 53% 29% 28% Source: Ericsson ConsumerLab 2014. Life in the fast lane Base: Mobile broadband users doing internet calls on their mobile phones Figure 8: Calls over the internet vs. mobile service provider 67% 33% VIA MOBILE SERVICE PROVIDER OVER THE INTERNET INSTANT MESSAGING IS POPULAR among younger user segments
  • 8. 8  ERICSSON CONSUMERLAB LIFE IN THE FAST LANE Faster network, new behavior Once smartphone users have a faster mobile network connection, their mobile services usage behavior changes significantly. In the figure to the right, we compare the faster and slower network subscribers’ usage levels for certain services. Assurance of uninterrupted, high quality network performance led users to make more use of mobile internet services in their daily lives. As a result, smartphone users on faster networks tend to use more data-intensive services compared to those on slower networks. As well as using advanced services like mobile banking and m-commerce, more users on faster networks are accessing data services by making video calls, streaming video content, tethering and using navigation services. Services such as online payments in particular show a significant jump between these two user groups, because on faster networks the users are more confident that the connection won’t be interrupted during the payment process. A large proportion of smartphone mobile data users mentioned that their experience with different services improved significantly after they started having access to faster networks. The services that had the biggest improvement were video calls, streaming and uploading/downloading photos/videos – all of which are data-intensive activities. Expats had a more positive reaction to this improvement than Saudi nationals, once both had moved to faster networks. 78 percent of Saudi nationals said that their experience while using video calls improved after moving to the faster networks, while 84 percent of expats said that their experience while using video calls improved. Source: Ericsson ConsumerLab 2014, Life in the fast lane Base: Mobile broadband smartphone users in Saudi Arabia using services via mobile networks daily Figure 10: Fast and slow network subscriber usage levels Videotelephony or video calls Video calls and streaming M-banking and commerce Navigation Tethering Use maps, navigation or positioning services (like GPS) Use/access banking services via mobile phone Watch video clips, TV or movies Check timetables and/ or traffic information Make payments via mobile phone Tethering via mobile phone Transfer money via mobile phone Use as part of my shopping habit 67% 40% 31% 23% 19% 81% 45% 20% 34% 73% 48% 44% 35% 34% 88% 56% 31% 49% Slower networks mobile data user Faster networks mobile data user Source: Ericsson ConsumerLab 2014, Life in the fast lane Base: Mobile broadband smartphone users in Saudi Arabia Saudi national faster network users Expat faster network users Figure 11: Service improvement on faster networks – a percentage of Saudi nationals and expats rated their services improved after moving to faster networks (top two agree out of one to five scale) 78% 84% 78% 81% 76% 81% 70% 81% 66% 70% VIDEO CALLS VIDEO CALLS STREAMING STREAMING GAMING EXPERIENCE GAMING EXPERIENCE DOWNLOADING DOWNLOADING ONLINE PAYMENTS ONLINE PAYMENTS The main reason for this is that Saudi nationals are much more sensitive to network quality, and hence they have higher expectations.
  • 9. Figure 12: Satisfaction with mobile service provider Recommendation of mobile service provider Source: Ericsson ConsumerLab 2014, Life in the fast lane Base: Mobile broadband smartphone users in Saudi Arabia 6.0 6.6 7.4 7.3 7.3 7.3 7.6 7.0 7.5 7.7 7.7 7.1 7.6 7.8 7.7 7.8 8.0 7.4 7.8 8.0 7.9 9.0 Figure 13: Satisfaction with different service areas Billing and payment Account management Customer support Network performance Value for money Handset/devices offered Price plan/tariff options Ongoing communication about services offered Rewards for being a loyal customer Faster network users Slower network users Initial purchase process ERICSSON CONSUMERLAB LIFE IN THE FAST LANE 9 In Figure 12, the satisfaction and loyalty of smartphone users on faster and slower networks are compared with regard to their operators. Those who subscribed to faster networks were significantly more satisfied than those on slower networks. Highly satisfied users are also more likely to be promoters. Those using faster networks have a significantly higher Net Promoter Score (NPS) than those on slower networks. Users’ higher satisfaction on the faster networks has a positive impact on many aspects of customer interaction, from the billing and payment process to perceived value for money. Figure 13 shows that across all of the key customer interaction touch points, the smartphone users on faster networks are more satisfied.This in turn leads to lower churn and positive word of mouth. The key to a better experience Source: Ericsson ConsumerLab 2014, Life in the fast lane. Base: Mobile broadband smartphone users in Saudi Arabia Good PoorAverage Smartphone mobile data users on faster networks Smartphone mobile data users on faster networks Smartphone mobile data users on slower networks Smartphone mobile data users on slower networks 73% 62% 22% 5% 30% 8% Promoters DetractorsPassive Net Promoter Score 46 27 60% 48% 26% 14% 31% 21%
  • 10. People spend most of their time indoors, either in the office, school or home. Location therefore plays an important role in the type of network connection they prefer. At home, most consumers prefer to use either mobile data or a Wi-Fi connection, depending on the price plan, speed and connection they get. In Figure 14, mobile broadband vs. Wi-Fi preference among smartphone mobile data users on slower and faster networks is compared in different locations. Across locations, the enhanced experience from faster mobile networks led to greater usage of mobile broadband. Indoors, Wi-Fi was the preferred mode of connection for users on slower mobile networks. However, due to the perceived good quality of services from faster mobile networks, toggling between mobile broadband and Wi-Fi across different locations is decreasing. Indoors, 29 percent of the users who subscribed to faster networks prefer to use Wi-Fi most of the time, compared to 46 percent of the users on slower networks. As users become familiar with having a faster connection, their behavior with regards to mobility also changes, as shown in Figure 15. Once they realize that the internet experience indoors and outdoors does not vary from a performance perspective, they tend to integrate more mobile internet into their lives, even while they are out and about. Those on faster networks are more likely to access the internet on a daily basis at schools/workplaces and whilst on the move, compared to users on slower networks. 10  ERICSSON CONSUMERLAB LIFE IN THE FAST LANE Wi-Fi vs. mobile broadband Source: Ericsson ConsumerLab 2014, Life in the fast lane Base: Mobile broadband smartphone users in Saudi Arabia Source: Ericsson ConsumerLab 2014, Life in the fast lane Base: Smartphone users who use various services over mobile broadband on a daily basis Figure 14: A good mobile broadband experience across locations leads to higher mobile data usage Figure 15: Accessing the internet on a daily basis in different areas At home At workplace/school Out and about Smartphone users on slower networks Smartphone users on faster networks 36% 50% 95% 40% 58% 96% 16% 46% 18% 29% 54% 19% 48% 34% Outdoors Indoors Outdoors Indoors Prefers Wi-Fi most of the time Prefers mobile broadband most of the time Smartphone users on slower mobile networks Smartphone users on faster mobile networks
  • 11. In Saudi Arabia faster mobile networks have wide coverage – and no price premium to subscribe to this access type. As long as the user has a capable smartphone, they can enjoy higher internet speeds without paying any extra fees, compared to the slower networks. We asked smartphone users on slower networks why they had chosen not to subscribe to the freely available faster networks. Although there is no extra subscription fee for using a faster network, 44 percent of the users who had rejected subscribing to faster networks cited expensive monthly fees as the reason for not doing so. However, if they subscribed to faster networks, they would not need to pay anything on top of their current connection type. This may be a case of consumers simply not being aware of what is available in the market. Other reasons for not doing so include satisfaction with their current internet connection, inertia and perceived lack of coverage. ERICSSON CONSUMERLAB LIFE IN THE FAST LANE 11 IDENTIFYING Barriers Source: Ericsson ConsumerLab 2014, Life in the fast lane Base: Smartphone users on slower networks Figure 16: Reasons for not subscribing to faster networks 14%30% 24% Lack of coverage Monthly subscription is expensive Faster networks rejecters Monthly subscription is expensive Lack of coverage Current internet connection satisfies my internet needs Lack of information on products and services High initial cost (expensive handset/dongle) Lack of choice in devices I want to hear about my friends/ colleagues/relatives’ experience first 38% 21% 17% 41% 24% 44% 29% cost perceptioN IS A BARRIER despite network upgrades being free
  • 12. EAB-14:034848 Uen © Ericsson AB 2014 Ericsson SE-126 25 Stockholm, Sweden Telephone +46 10 719 00 00 www.ericsson.com Ericsson is the driving force behind the Networked Society – a world leader in communications technology and services. Our long-term relationships with every major telecom operator in the world allow people, businesses and societies to fulfil their potential and create a more sustainable future. Our services, software and infrastructure – especially in mobility, broadband and the cloud – are enabling the telecom industry and other sectors to do better business, increase efficiency, improve the user experience and capture new opportunities. With more than 110,000 professionals and customers in 180 countries, we combine global scale with technology and services leadership. We support networks that connect more than 2.5 billion subscribers. Forty percent of the world’s mobile traffic is carried over Ericsson networks. And our investments in research and development ensure that our solutions – and our customers – stay in front.    Founded in 1876, Ericsson has its headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden. Net sales in 2013 were SEK 227.8 billion (USD 34.9 billion). Ericsson is listed on NASDAQ OMX stock exchange in Stockholm and the NASDAQ in NewYork. The content of this document is subject to revision without notice due to continued progress in methodology, design and manufacturing. Ericsson shall have no liability for any error or damage of any kind resulting from the use of this document.