2011: MCA Consumer Perceptions Survey - Mobile Telephony

The MCA has today published the third set of survey results carried out between July and September, in order to gauge consumer perceptions on electronic communications services. The results published today are of a survey related to mobile services, whereby telephone interviews were carried with respondents chosen at random from GO’s and Melita’s online telephone directories. Only residential users were considered for this survey.

According to the survey, 87% of (residential) respondents have a mobile phone. Of the remaining respondents without a mobile connection 12% say they still have no intention of getting one in the future, while 1% claim they are considering getting a mobile connection by the end of the year.

The survey also reports that around 9% of respondents with a mobile phone have more than one mobile connection. These multiple mobile connections, together with the penetration of business mobile users, not captured in this domestic survey, explain why in actual terms the total mobile penetration rate in Malta exceeds 100%.

34% of those respondents who state that they have a mobile phone confirm that their subscription forms part of a bundle. This is a considerable leap from the results of the 2009 survey where only 7% of respondents had claimed to have a mobile connection that formed part of a bundle.

The survey found that 79% of subscribers have a prepaid connection while the remaining 20% are on a contract basis. The latter figure is gradually on the increase, rising by 8% over 2009 results.

Prepaid subscribers are generally more aware of their monthly mobile expenditure – only 13% don’t know how much they spend as opposed to 19% of postpaid subscribers. The results also show that 38% of postpaid subscribers spend more than €30 a month on mobile services, while the majority of prepaid subscribers fall in the lower spending brackets.

91% of those respondents who travelled abroad during 2010 claim to have used their mobile phone while being abroad, of which 17% only send an SMS, 15% only used their mobile to make calls while the remaining 59% used their mobile connection to both make calls and send text messages.

In terms of quality satisfaction levels, the survey shows that more than 88% of respondents with a mobile connection are satisfied or highly satisfied with the level of service provided by their operator. Nonetheless it emerges from the survey that switching between mobile operators is quite significant, with 21% of mobile subscribers changing operators during the last two years. The reasons for switching operators are various, but the most salient motives remain the bundle offers and the attractive cheaper (special) rates offered from time to time. Respondents also claim that it was relatively easy to change mobile operators with only 8% encountering difficulties, the majority of which say were related to delays in number porting.

‘These results confirm that number portability is in its own nature an excellent tool for competition. Without such a facility, subscribers who would be willing to change from one telephony service provider to another offering better value or quality, are stuck with their current service provider since changing one’s telephone number would not only be an inconvenience, and also, especially in the case of businesses, a costly operation,’ said Ing. Philip Micallef, Executive Chairman, MCA.

The survey also explores the emergence of internet use via the mobile phone. Of the respondents with a mobile connection, 16% say they have a Smart Phone and are thus able to access internet via their mobile phone, while the remaining 84% have a normal mobile phone. Interestingly, of those with a Smart Phone, 44% say they make access the internet on their mobile phone on a daily basis, 6% do so 2-3 times a week while 11% make use of their mobile phone internet once a week. More than half of the respondents use the internet on their mobile to read e-mails, 20% for social networking, 16% for general browsing, while 10% and 2% access the internet via their mobile phone to browse news related items and you tube respectively.