Mobile Broadband Performance Expectations Rise

The importance of mobile Internet performance when choosing a service provider rose again from 32 percent in 2014 to 35 percent this year.

mobility and web

Demand for excellent mobile Internet performance is rising, with expectations at an all-time high, according to a Vasona Networks survey of 1,132 U.S. online consumers.

The importance of mobile Internet performance when choosing a service provider rose again from 32 percent in 2014 to 35 percent this year, while the percentage of users expecting good mobile data performance all of the time, with no temporary hiccups or outages, stood at 73 percent.

Additional findings from the survey suggest that operators should focus on improving mobile browsing performance. A majority of respondents (60 percent) say that Web pages loading slowly or not at all is the single most frustrating experience when networks are slow.

"We were most surprised by the number of consumers that are potentially at risk of churning. While a significant percentage of smartphone users say that their experience has gotten better over the past year, the majority has not seen a change or believe their service has gotten worse," John Reister, vice president of marketing and product for Vasona, told eWEEK. "Considering the portion of customers that say their experience has gotten worse and those that think they can get better performance by switching, operators are potentially facing an awfully high churn risk. This is especially true as the customer experience emerges as the next battleground for growth."

Nearly a third (32 percent) of respondents said the mobile broadband experience offered by their provider has gotten better during the past year, while only 15 percent think that it has gotten worse.

"One particular challenge that operators face today is the rise of encrypted video on their networks, such as what is sent by companies like YouTube, Netflix and Facebook," Reister said. "It’s difficult to manage what you can’t see and it’s rendering many previous investments in optimization solutions useless. Video tends to need more steady conditions for a good experience and the speed of congestion is just too fast for video adaption to offer an optimal experience."

The survey also revealed that when apps don’t work, operators still get the most blame at 56 percent, which is more than app makers, device manufacturers or OS developers combined.

"Time and again, consumers have proven that if you give them more bandwidth, they’ll find a way to push it to its max. With consumers continuing to expand the number of devices that they own and connect, mobile data needs will grow exponentially," Reister said. "Operators know that it’s not economically feasible and increasingly not even possible, to keep throwing raw spectrum at the problem."

He explained that’s why they’re now starting to spend more time trying to understand intimately what’s happening in every cell of their network, which is allowing them to surgically address traffic spikes as needed, protecting the customer experience in the process.