MCA Consumer Perceptions Survey – Fixed Telephony
A brief overview of findings for a perception survey carried out in the period of December 2017
The MCA is hereby publishing the findings of a survey gauging consumer perceptions based on their experience in using fixed telephony services offered in Malta.
The survey, which was limited to residential users, was carried out by Grant Thornton via telephone interviews. A total of 824 randomly selected respondents participated in this survey.
Survey variables addressed:
- The level of satisfaction with the products and services being purchased,
- The sensitivities to price changes and switching,
- The overall experience with customer care related to faults.
In this survey new questions were added, focusing on the features sought when purchasing a fixed telephony service, as well as the preference to use over-the-top (OTT) services to make a call instead of traditional fixed telephony.
Summary of Results:
Almost all households have a fixed telephony connection; the bundling of this service was popular with respondents.
Survey results show that a total of 99.8% of household respondents claim to have a fixed telephony subscription at their place of residence. 72% of households with a fixed telephony connection opted to purchase this service as a post-paid plan bundled in a two year contract with other electronic communication services.
4% of all respondents reported being subscribed to more than 1 fixed telephony connection. 39% of respondents with more than 1 connection had an alternative connection due to availing themselves of another bundle offer.
High levels of satisfaction reported amongst consumers; of those dissatisfied, few would switch service providers
Respondents reported having similar levels of satisfaction to what was observed in previous fixed telephony surveys carried out by the MCA. Indeed, satisfaction levels were very high with 42% of respondents reporting being satisfied with their current service whilst 48% reported being very satisfied with their fixed telephony.
Only 1 in 10 respondents reported being dissatisfied with the current service being provided by their operator. Despite their dissatisfaction, almost half of the aforementioned were unlikely to switch service providers. 32% of those dissatisfied with their service would not switch as they believed that alternative operators would provide the same level of service whilst 29% could not switch as their service forms part of a bundle. The remaining 26% did not switch providers as they deemed the switch to be inconvenient.
Some fixed telephony faults were reported throughout 2017; However, respondents were satisfied with corrective measures taken by operators
Most respondents reported having a fault-free experience with their fixed telephony service in 2017. In fact, 69% of respondents said that they had no faults in the last 12 months. On the other hand, 18% of respondents reported have one fault throughout the year whilst 13% reported having between 2 to 5 during the same period. Only 1% of respondents said that they had more than 5 faults in 2017.
Despite these faults, 79% of respondents were satisfied with the remedial response given by their operators when faults were reported.
A general lack of knowledge on the monthly expenditure of their fixed telephony service
78% of respondents with a fixed telephony service were unable to identify their monthly expenditure on their fixed telephony service. This is an increase of 8 percentage points when compared to the same survey which took place in 2015. 64% of those unaware of their monthly expenditure said that they purchased their fixed telephony service in a bundle, thus were unable to identify the cost of the individual service.
Two-thirds of respondents knowing their monthly payments identified their expenditure to be less than €20.00 a month on this service whilst the remaining third of respondents identified their expenditure to be between €20.00 and €50.00 monthly.
Lack of knowledge on the per minute costs of calls
Survey data suggests that lack of knowledge on per-minute calls from 2015 to 2017 has risen. Indeed, respondents were generally unaware of the costs of their calls on a per-minute basis from their fixed telephony service to any other device. At 25% respondents were most knowledgeable on the cost of a 1-minute call taking place on their same network from one fixed line to another. A possible reason for users’ lack of awareness could be due to the fact that several plans offered by operators provide allowances or unlimited calls which end-users may deem sufficient for their use.
Growing popularity of mobile telephony over fixed telephony however OTTs lag behind
80% Household respondents reported that a mobile telephony service was substitutable with a standard fixed telephony connection. This is in an increase of 3 percentage points when compared to previous surveys carried out by the MCA. Conversely, only 46% respondents reported OTT applications such as WhatsApp, Skype or Messenger to be an effective substitute to a standard fixed telephony connection.
Background to the survey function at the MCA
The MCA has been carrying out the Consumer Perception Surveys on a two-yearly interval since 2008. The main purpose behind this exercise is to gather information on the level of satisfaction of local consumers with the products and services offered by electronic communication service providers and the extent to which these providers are able to address the demands of their clients. Given that these surveys have been carried out regularly for a number of years, survey results are indicative of how the needs of end-users have developed over time and how local service providers are dealing with changing demand over the years.
The results of these surveys also serve as an additional source of information for the MCA’s regulatory decisions, in order to ensure an environment that is conducive to sustainable competition and investment in view of the growing demands of the future.
Methodology and Fieldwork
The methodology used in the latest round of consumer surveys, including the sampling, questionnaire design, fieldwork and weighting processes followed similar approaches to previous surveys. The research methodology involved the use of Telephone Computer-assisted interviewing (CATI).
Consumers sampled were stratified according to the age composition of the Maltese population. Moreover, the interviews were distributed among Malta’s six official geographic regions and carried out across different socio economic categories of the Maltese population.