PwC Survey Sees Wireless Carriers Revisiting Customer Relationships: Reports on Findings

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Significant pressures on existing revenue models and profitability for wireless carriers brought to light.

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Big4, the premier social networking forum for professionals and alumni of Accenture, Andersen, BearingPoint, Capgemini, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers, Pwc, has reported on new findings in the wireless Internet market. Increasing smartphone adoption and data usage, more capital being expended by the transition to 4G networks, and shrinking mobile voice usage is creating pressures for wireless carriers. This latest information comes from a survey conducted by PwC US titled: No wires attached: 2011 North American wireless industry survey. reports on the fact that keeping pace with increasing subscriber consumption of data-intensive services, means wireless operators need to move to the most efficient networks. The survey reports that 82 percent of responding carriers reported 90 percent of their subscriber base was covered by 3G technology. That number was up from 67 percent in the previous year’s survey. In the 2011 survey, seven operators noted they were deploying 4G technology, up from just three companies in the prior year survey.

Pierre-Alain Sur, global communications industry leader, PwC commented:
“The mobile industry has reached a point where the economics of the current subsidy model associated with acquiring new and upgrading existing customers to costly smartphones have become increasingly difficult to sustain,” he said. “Customers are becoming less loyal and the average length of postpaid customer relationships has declined to 48 months in the 2011 survey, from 59 months in the 2010 survey. Carriers are revisiting their approach to customer relationships and considering new ways to retain subscribers such as device buyback initiatives, leasing programs, and 'bring your own device' approaches.”

The numbers also show mobile voice usage is starting to fall off. That move is triggered by the increased penetration of price-sensitive customers and the replacement of voice usage with data services such as text messaging and e-mail.

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