Dropped Calls Still Big Problem, Customer Mutinies May be in Works

By Steve Anderson May 04, 2012

A major new survey from the folks at Rebtel, the world's second largest mobile VoIP company--second only to Skype--shows that, despite everything that's said about data plans, voice quality is still very important to subscribers. Sufficiently important, in fact, that many subscribers are thinking about switching carriers to get a better signal.

The Rebtel survey showed that almost two out of five users--39 percent—are saying that they'd had more than five dropped calls every month. This in turn is a big problem for mobile providers, as 89 percent of subscribers said that clear voice calling was "very important" to them. And for 84 percent of that 89 percent, stated clear voice calling is so important that they would switch smartphones over poor voice quality. Moreover, 79 percent of that 89 percent would switch carriers outright in the wake of poor network performance.

The breakdown of the survey, meanwhile, is even more telling in terms of what mobile customers actually want. When it comes to using a mobile VoIP app, men are almost twice as likely as women--38 percent of men versus 20 percent of women--to use one over their standard voice calling system. Men are also more likely to drop smartphones as a result of call quality, but women are significantly more likely than men to use text messaging instead of voice calling, at nearly half--44 percent--of women surveyed while only 30 percent of men would do so.

In terms of smartphones, iPhone enjoys the best customer loyalty, but the numbers are unsettlingly close. Android users are most likely to switch phones in terms of call quality at 86 percent, while only 81.5 percent of iPhone users would do likewise.

What's particularly interesting about this survey is the why of it all. As it turns out, the main reason people want that clear voice connection is the obvious one, with 46.9 percent of respondents saying that they wanted to hear their friends, family, or significant other better. The second largest pool of respondents was a very close 42.4 percent who said that their monthly bills were sufficiently high that they believed they had a right to a clear connection when they wanted it. The two remaining responses, that a clear connection was needed for work or for emergency use, paled in comparison, netting just 6.8 percent and 3.9 percent of responses, respectively.

Users are extremely sensitive to call quality, and for a very limited number of reasons. With people actively planning to jump ship from their current smartphones, or even their current providers, the impetus is now on the carriers to ensure the best possible voice calling service for their customers. Recent advances in the field like HD Voice may be a big help with that, and VoIP services are taking advantage of the perceived quality shortfall as well. One thing's for sure, though: the mobile market will continue to be an extremely dynamic field, with lots of changes in the making at all times.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

Contributing TechZone360 Writer

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