J.D. Power and Associates Reports: O2 Ranks Highest in Customer Satisfaction

LONDON: 5 February 2009 — O2 ranks highest in overall customer satisfaction among both fixed and mobile broadband Internet service providers (ISPs) in the UK, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2008 UK Fixed Broadband ISP Customer Satisfaction Study and the J.D. Power and Associates 2008 UK Mobile Broadband ISP Customer Satisfaction Study, both released today.

The studies examine five factors that drive overall satisfaction with broadband Internet service providers. The factors, in order of importance, are: performance and reliability; billing; cost of the service; customer service/technical support; and offerings and promotions.

Fixed Broadband Internet Service Providers

O2 ranks highest among fixed broadband Internet service providers with a score of 767 on a 1,000-point scale, and performs particularly well in four of the factors driving satisfaction: performance and reliability; billing; cost of the service; and customer service/technical support. Sky (706) and Virgin Media (672) follow O2 in the rankings.

The study finds the number of service disruptions reported by customers in the previous 12 months declined to an average of 2.8 in 2008 from 5.9 in 2007. However, 62 percent of customers reported experiencing a service disruption in the previous 12 months, with 26 percent attributing the outage to a local exchange problem or heavy Internet traffic.

“Among customers, the proportion of complaints, compared with general inquiries, declined to 40 percent in 2008 from 52 percent in 2007, suggesting that ISPs have been working hard to improve their infrastructure,” said Stuart Crawford-Browne, senior manager of service industries research at J.D. Power and Associates. “While it appears that service levels for fixed broadband are improving, the differences in satisfaction between the leading ISPs and other competitors indicate that some providers need to do more to retain their customers, who are hunting for value and quality service in tough economic times.”

Mobile Broadband Internet Service Providers

Among mobile broadband Internet service providers, O2 ranks highest with a score of 712. O2 performs well in all five factors driving satisfaction. T-Mobile follows O2 in the rankings with a score of 683, and Vodafone ranks third with 655.

Satisfaction with mobile broadband ISPs tends to be lower than with fixed broadband ISPs. Additionally, mobile broadband customers report an average of 3.6 service disruptions in the previous 12 months, often due to poor reception and a busy network.

“The mobile broadband market is experiencing swift growth as a complementary service to fixed broadband—71 percent of mobile broadband customers also have fixed broadband services,” said Crawford-Browne. “However, with the rapid evolution of the mobile broadband segment, ISPs need to keep improving their offerings and service to stay competitive.”

The studies also find the following key trends:

  • Sixty-four percent of fixed broadband customers have a wireless router, and 73 percent of these customers received it in a package from their broadband ISP.
  • Among fixed broadband contract holders, 38 percent received incentives to sign their contract—most often a discounted monthly price or the inclusion of a wireless router. Among mobile broadband contract holders, 41 percent received an incentive to sign their contract, with 44 percent receiving a monthly discount and 20 percent receiving a laptop computer.
  • While 80 percent of customers bundle fixed broadband services with other services, only 62 percent of mobile broadband customers do the same with their mobile phone network and ISP.
  • Only 20 percent of fixed broadband customers say they “definitely will” or “probably will” switch their provider in the next 12 months, while 25 percent of mobile broadband customers say the same.

The 2008 UK Fixed Broadband ISP Customer Satisfaction Study, now in its fourth year, was fielded in December 2008 and is based on responses from 1,715 residential customers with fixed line broadband services across the UK. The inaugural 2008 UK Mobile Broadband ISP Customer Satisfaction Study was fielded November through December 2008 and is based on responses from 1,080 mobile broadband customers.