Half of Cellphone Users Would Consider Changing Operators If They Had a Poor Mobile Signal

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Global Wireless Solutions launches OneScore to deliver the most extensive and meaningful ranking of wireless network connectivity

Today, leading independent network benchmarking firm Global Wireless Solutions (GWS) launches OneScore, the first ranking of mobile network performance that takes into account both in-depth network testing data and the wireless services which consumers believe are most important to them. In a detailed study polling 5,000 U.S. adults, GWS found that just more than half (51 percent) of consumers would consider changing operators if they had a bad mobile signal. Additionally, voice calls (Figure 1) were revealed to be the single most important part of the mobile experience for consumers, with almost twice as many Americans saying they couldn’t live without making or receiving phone calls compared to text messages or data.

OneScore to Rule Them All
The study revealed that despite a recent focus by some media and operators on metrics such as maximum achievable data throughputs, consumers care more about their mobile network getting the basics right, like calls always connecting and good data reliability. To provide a more meaningful measure of network performance, bridging the gap between operator claims and consumer expectations, GWS created OneScore. The new OneScore measurement provides a deeper and more accurate understanding of performance than any other metric by assessing the performance of mobile networks not just by their relative speed or reliability, but also by other qualities that consumers want in their network and the behavior they exhibit using it.

The Power of Voice
The most popular uses of a mobile phone are still making calls and sending texts, with emails and photos just behind. When Americans were asked to specify just one use they couldn’t live without, 41 percent of respondents chose making and receiving calls. This is almost double the number of the next highest response, which was sending or receiving texts, at 21 percent.

Figure 1: Most Popular Uses for Mobile Phones

1.    Make or receive phone calls
2.    Send or receive texts
3.    Take photos
4.    Send or receive emails
5.    Send or receive photos
6.    General Internet browsing
7.    Use social networking apps/sites
8.    For directions or navigation
9.    Play music
10.    Send or receive instant messages

Despite the growth in data-driven services available to mobile users, consumers reported that reliability when making and receiving calls was still the most important area of their wireless network’s performance. Looking at voice and data separately, the most important areas of network performance for consumers are:

Voice — Ranked
1.    Reliability of calls always connecting when you dial
2.    Voice quality
3.    Calls drop infrequently
4.    Calls connect quickly
5.    Good network coverage

Data — Ranked
1.    Reliability of text message delivery
2.    Good data reliability
3.    Fast data speed for browsing and downloads
4.    Good access to high speed data networks
5.    Fast data uploads

Americans Now Consider the Internet a Core Utility
As people have become increasingly reliant on the Internet, the data also reveals that 43 percent of Americans now consider Internet access to be as important as any other utility (such as electricity or water). Additionally, 35 percent of Americans are relying on their mobile device as a primary means to access online services and information, as they have limited alternative means.

While millennials have been quick to integrate mobile into their daily lives, there isn’t much of a generation gap with older users because it’s still the core functions of their phone – such as voice calls and text messaging – that are the most important to them. The research shows that text messaging (26 percent) and voice calls (23 percent) are still by far the most important phone uses for the 18-to-34 year olds. Social networking and web browsing were behind these mobile functions at 9 percent and 8 percent respectively.

Dr. Paul Carter, CEO at Global Wireless Solutions, commented: “Traditionally, network performance has been tested by placing significant emphasis on a discrete parameter such as throughputs or signal levels. While this may provide a performance snapshot of one part of a wireless network, it doesn’t take into account consumer perception and services utilized. And while there are instances in the industry where multiple parameters have been considered in determining a performance metric, the methodology and formulas used have not been clear or transparent. To truly understand how those networks are performing, it’s crucial to also have a meaningful understanding of consumer expectations and behavior when they’re using their mobile devices – that’s the gap OneScore is filling. By providing mobile operators with a clear and meaningful metric that looks at the actual data from controlled testing, alongside how consumers are actually using their mobile devices, we are giving them a full picture of the true performance of their network. Which is important, given that 51 percent of consumers would consider leaving their operator if they had a poor signal.”

GWS will be rolling out OneScore over the next year as part of its regular testing across the US and in a variety of different situations.

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Methodology
This survey was conducted online within the USA between October 18 and 31, 2015 among 5,000 adults (ages 18 and over) by GWS via Toluna’s online panel. Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Toluna surveys. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the online population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in Toluna surveys, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

About Global Wireless Solutions, Inc.
Global Wireless Solutions, Inc. defines the industry standard for network benchmarking, analysis and testing. Working with some of the world’s largest wireless network providers, GWS offers standardized, high-quality network data and engineering analysis to its customers through a suite of benchmarking products, services, and diagnostic apps that includes drive, venue, and in-building testing.

Firmly rooted in a deep understanding of network engineering, GWS provides best-in-class, turnkey solutions to help customers better understand overall network performance as today’s wireless networks grow and evolve. Founded in 1996, GWS is headquartered in Dulles, VA. At last count, GWS has driven nearly 10 million data collection miles for its customers. For more information, visit http://www.gwsolutions.com and follow us on Twitter at @gwsolutionsinc.

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