There are hundreds of different Swiss mobile plans and prepaid offers, which makes choosing the right mobile service a difficult task for many consumers. But what it is that consumers look for when choosing a mobile offer?
To find out, moneyland.ch surveyed 1479 consumers across Switzerland to find out what they look for when choosing a mobile plan. The survey listed 16 different criteria, with participants rating each of these criterion between 1 (not important) and 10 (very important).
Criteria results compared
Network coverage received the highest ratings – 88% of participants consider this to be important to very important (ratings 8 to 10). Other criteria are listed here in order of importance: Network quality (87%), voice quality (81%), price (77%), mobile data (75%), local phone calls (74%), general customer service (63%), availability of representatives (60%), discounts (58%), package deals (52%), notice periods (49%), friendliness of representatives (49%), roaming services (49%), discounted smartphones (47%), minimum contract terms (44%) and international phone calls (38%).
Résumé by moneyland.ch telecom expert Ralf Beyeler: “High network quality is a decisive factor for Swiss mobile users. Swiss mobile service providers should take this need seriously. Mobile service providers which neglect quality are sawing off the limb that supports them.”
Network quality, voice quality and network coverage are key
Network coverage is the most important factor. For 88% of participants, network coverage is an important to very important criterion for choosing a mobile service provider. This factor is even more important for adults between the ages of 50 and 74, with 93% of consumers in this age group rating network coverage as important or very important. Surprisingly, only 74% of customers between the ages of 19 and 25 years old rated network coverage as important.
The second most important criterion is network quality, with 87% of participants rating this criterion as very important. 76% of young adults aged 19 to 25 rated network quality as an important factor, compared to 92% of adults between 50 and 74 years old.
Mobile plan pricing is also decisive
Pricing is an important to very important factor for 77% of participants. 80% of women rated pricing as important or very important, compared to 75% of men. In contrast to network quality ratings, there are no notable differences in the way that pricing is rated by different age groups. Pricing also received similar ratings across both German-speaking and French-speaking Switzerland.
For Sunrise and Salt customers, pricing is the most important criterion. 85% of participating Sunrise customers and 86% of Salt customers rated pricing as an important to very important factor. On the other hand, only 68% of participating Swisscom customers rated pricing as a very important criterion. “Although quality is important for Swiss consumers, three out of four consumers also place importance on costs. Taking Swisscom’s high rates into consideration, it isn’t surprising that pricing is a less important criterion for many Swisscom customers,” says Ralf Beyeler from moneyland.ch.
Discounts and discounted smartphones
58% of participants rated discounts as important to very important. A difference between French-speaking and German-speaking Switzerland is clearly visible: 74% of consumers in French-speaking Switzerland consider discounts to be important or very important, compared to only 54% of participants in German-speaking Switzerland. A less significant gender-based difference is also apparent: Women (62%) find discounts more important than men (55%). 69% of Salt customers find discounts important to very important, compared to 62% of Sunrise customers and 57% of Swisscom customers. “Salt has advertised discounts intensively for many years now, and thus has attracted customers who find discounts important,” according to Beyeler of moneyland.ch.
It is interesting that only 47% of participants consider a discounted smartphone to be an important criterion for choosing a mobile offer. There are differences between age groups and linguistic regions. 52% of young adults between the ages of 19 and 25 find discounts on smartphones important, compared to 44% of those between the ages of 26 and 49.
58% of participants in French-speaking Switzerland find discounted phones important, compared to 44% of those in German-speaking Switzerland. There are also differences between mobile service providers: 53% of Swisscom customers rated discounted smartphones as important compared to 49% of Salt customers and 41% of Sunrise customers.
“Consumers should understand that when choosing a mobile plan, it is the total costs that matter – not the biggest discounts or discounted phones. In many cases affordable offers with no discounts and no discounted phones work out cheaper than expensive offers with big discounts,” explains telecom expert Ralf Beyeler.
Customer service: Major differences between age groups
63% of participants rated customer service as important to very important. Only 44% of young adults aged 19 to 25 rated customer service as important to very important, compared to 52% of adults aged 26 to 49 and 77% of adults aged 50 to 74 years old. Similar figures apply to friendliness of representatives and availability of representatives. There are differences between mobile service providers: 66% of Swisscom customers who participated in the survey found customer service to be important, compared to 61% of Sunrise customers and 59% of Salt customers.
Roaming services are less important
Only 49% of participants consider roaming to be important. There are major differences between age groups: 40% of young adults aged 19 to 25 consider roaming to be important, compared to 44% of adults in the 26 to 49 age group and 55% of adults aged 50 to 74 years old. Compared to other criteria, roaming holds less significance because a majority of consumers ae not yet accustomed to looking at roaming rates before signing up for an offer. In most cases, phone users only pay attention to roaming fees when they receive a high phone bill after traveling abroad.
International calls are not important to a majority of consumers
Many residents of Switzerland have friends who live abroad, or have themselves moved to Switzerland from abroad. However, only 38% of total participants considered international calls to be a key factor when choosing a mobile plan, making international calls one of the least important criterion. Here too, there are major age-based differences: 27% of adults aged 19 to 25 years old consider international calls important, compared to 33% of those between the ages of 26 and 49, and 46% of those aged 50 to 74 years old.
“Most young consumers know that the high costs of international calls can be bypassed by using WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook and similar platforms,” clarifies Ralf Beyeler. Making international calls via phone networks is not actually necessary for many customers.
The unbiased mobile offer comparison on moneyland.ch lists information about network quality and minimum contract terms in addition to the current prices of mobile plans.