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U.S. Consumer Sentiments Provide a Warning to Mobile Operators and Encouragement to Would-Be Disruptors

U.S. Consumer Sentiments Provide a Warning to Mobile Operators and Encouragement to Would-Be Disruptors

This IDC study analyzes consumer perceptions of wireless service across key metrics to characterize the state of demand for evolving traditional operators as well as emerging disruptive consumer-oriented mobile service models. The results of IDC's latest ConsumerScape 360 Survey's Consumer Telco module data point to relatively low levels of consumer satisfaction with value for price and choice of service plans among the top 4 U.S. operators in particular. Despite this, overall levels of satisfaction indicated in Apostle Model profiles are relatively high. At the same time, a nascent group of WiFi First service models has emerged with a fresh set of value propositions aimed squarely where consumer data suggests the leading U.S. operators are deficient. At least one of these services, Google's Project Fi, has sufficiently powerful backing to command the full attention of the current and traditional market leaders.

There is no near-term recipe for disruption at scale from these models, said John Jackson, IDC's research vice president for Mobile and Connected Platforms. This is particularly true among the top 4 operators in the presently uber-competitive climate, where value for price has become a central competitive pillar. But the leading operators can't afford to ignore the vulnerabilities implied by these consumer sentiments, he continued. The case for alternative models remains valid, and depending on a certain set of conditions, it is poised to strengthen in the medium term.


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