Boost Best in Non-contract Wireless Satisfaction

April 1, 2011

jd-power-wireless-noncontract-apr-20111.JPGBoost Mobile ranks highest in overall US customer satisfaction among non-contract wireless customers and achieves a score of 808, compared to the industry average of 765, according to J.D. Power and Associates 2011 U.S. Wireless Non-Contract Customer Satisfaction Index Study. Boost Mobile performs particularly well in four of the six factors that drive overall satisfaction: cost of service; account management; initial activation; and offerings and promotions.

5 Other Carriers Beat Industry Average

Also ranking above the industry average are MetroPCS, TracFone, NET10, Virgin Mobile and T-Mobile, respectively. The study measures customer satisfaction with current non-contract wireless service across six key factors (listed in order of importance): performance and reliability (31%); cost of service (21%); account management (17%); initial activation (12%); offerings and promotions (12%); and customer service (7%).

Higher Satisfaction Leads to Addl. Purchases

The study also finds that higher satisfaction levels may drive wireless customers to purchase additional products and services. In 2011, 53% of non-contract customers say they are likely to purchase additional products or services offered by their current carrier during the next six months, while 47% say they are content with their current plan and equipment.

Overall satisfaction scores are 90 index points higher, on average, among customers willing to spend more money on additional purchases, compared with customers opting to continue with their current plan (807 compared to 717, respectively).

Monthly Plan Popularity Grows Dramatically

The study finds that product offerings in the non-contract segment have changed dramatically during the past several years, with many wireless carriers increasing the offerings of monthly plans, some mimicking traditional contract plans, while others have unlimited calling and texting. Currently, 49% of non-contract plan customers have monthly plans, compared with less than 30% in 2008, more than a 50% increase.

J.D. Power analysis indicates the increase in the prevalence of monthly plans can be partly attributed to a combination of cost savings and service offerings, and also to improved overall satisfaction due to positive recommendations from existing customers. In 2011, overall satisfaction among monthly service plan customers is comparable to satisfaction among those who use pay-as-you-go plans (762 on a 1,000-point scale compared to 768, on average). In 2009, the difference in overall satisfaction between monthly customers and pay-as-you-go customers averaged 14 points.

Other Findings

The study also finds the following key non-contract wireless usage patterns:

  • Pay-as-you-go customers spend an average of $37 for each airtime purchase in 2011, an increase of about 6% from $35 in 2010.
  • Monthly non-contract customers spend an average of 35% less per month than do customers with contracts. Monthly non-contract customers spend $60 per month, compared with an average monthly service cost of $92 for customers with service contracts.
  • Overall, non-contract customers use 326 minutes per month, on average. Pay-as-you-go customers use an average of just 180 minutes per month, while monthly non-contract customers use an average of 489 minutes per month; an increase of approximately 11% from about 439 minutes in 2010.
  • Among customers currently under contract with a postpaid carrier and who say they are likely to switch their carrier during the next year, nearly four in 10 (38%) are likely to choose non-contract service.

Apple Shines in Smartphone OEM Satisfaction

For a fifth consecutive time, Apple ranks highest among manufacturers of smartphones in customer satisfaction with a score of 795 (out of 1,000) and performs particularly well in ease of operation, operating system, features and physical design, according to the recent J.D. Power and Associates 2011 U.S. Wireless Smartphone Customer Satisfaction Study, Volume 1 and the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 U.S. Wireless Traditional Mobile Phone Satisfaction Study, Volume 1. Apple performs particularly well in ease of operation, operating system, features and physical design; and Motorola (763) and HTC (762) follow Apple in the smartphone rankings.

About the Data: The 2011 U.S. Wireless Non-Contract Customer Satisfaction Index Study measures customer satisfaction with current non-contract wireless service. The study, published by J.D. Power & Associates, is based on responses from 6,436 wireless customers who currently subscribe to non-contract service plans and is the source of the enclosed chart. Findings are based on a continuous fielding period between July and December 2010.

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