Nearly half (46%) of Australian mobile subscribers have switched mobile services providers in the past three years and that's a trend that's set to grow, according to a study from technology analyst firm Telsyte.
The Australian Mobile Services Market Study 2014-17 claims bill shock and increasingly attractive offers from mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) are driving customers to change providers, with 40% of survey respondents saying they were planning to or considering a switch within the next 12 months.
Telsyte also said that within the past 12 months, half of those who have switched provided have landed with MVNOs, and the firm expects this trend to continue as MVNOs build scale and awareness.
“Nearly 40% of mobile users are planning to or considering changing providers in the next 12 months, especially those who are already off fixed contracts,” Telsyte Senior Mobility Analyst Alvin Lee said.
Bill shock also continues to play its part, with 15% of Australian mobile subscribers having experience unexpectedly high bills in the past 12 months, with younger age groups and iPhone users the most affected.
The need for change is expected to create opportunities for all providers including Vodafone, which is trying to make up for recent losses with its shiny new 4G capabilities.
High-speed 4G/LTE continues to be a key differentiator for the carrier brands, with MVNOs having less access to wholesale 4G than older 3G/HSPA+ services. Telsyte expects 4G services to make up nearly 70% of all mobile services by 2017.
Australia's largest MVNO Amaysim and our biggest telco Telstra were the top two rated services providers rated across eight key attributes, including network reliability, coverage, price, customer service, and more.
Amaysim CEO Rolf Hansen told iTWire in an interview he was "surprised at just how satisified" his customers are.
"We do a lot of research worldwide to find out what the biggest dissatisfiers are for consumers, and with slight differences between the markets, it's always the same things coming up," he said.
"It's intransparency of product, it's the fact consumers are being locked in, it's bill shock... so we try and gear our products around those dissatisfiers and start attracting consumers to us, and the Telsyte research confirms, with ranking us number one even ahead of Telstra, that we're ringing the right bell here. And we'll see a time where consumers will start voting with their feet and turning their backs on lock-in contracts, and I think that's started happening."
He did express sympathy for other telco chiefs however, who have "millions of customers" and are therefore "slow to move."
"Competition has done a long way to helping customers get better outcomes with Telstra, Vodafone and Optus, but turning around these big, monolithic companies is a tough job so all respect to the CEOs of the larger brands out there. They have a tough job."
MVNOs have had a tough year with Kogan failing spectacularly and Vodafone MVNO Crazy John's pulling out of the market, but today's result meant customers could trust MVNOs who got it right, according to Hansen, and Amaysim will be doing even more to keep its customers happy.
"We never rest and we'll keep trying to improve a little bit here and a little bit there, and if there's one thing that we'll continue to drive it's the online world of Amaysim. Last year we launched free same-day delivery to Melbourne and Sydney CBD, and you'll see constant evolution of our ability to serve customers wherever they are," he said.
"Because, in the end, the differentiation of MVNos will not be price, but it'll be user experience. And that's where we're going to invest and work hard."
The Telsyte Australian Mobile Services Market Study 2014-17 is a bi-annual publication reporting on the local mobile services industry and subscriber trends for the last eight years, and will report again in six months time.