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In October, 2023, I wrote in this space: "Where Should I Buy My Wireless Service This Holiday Season?"
The article outlined the pros and cons of buying a phone and service either through a corporate-owned retail store (AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon), an independently owned branded store, a non-exclusive dealer, or an MVNO. I ended the article by stating:
“To make an informed decision, consider your specific needs, budget, and geographic location. If network quality and coverage are essential and you’re willing to pay more for premium service, a major carrier might be the better choice. On the other hand, if cost savings and flexibility are a priority, an MVNO may be the right fit for you. It’s a good idea to compare plans, read reviews, and check network coverage maps to determine the best option for your circumstances.”
So, what did customers do? I’m not sure if my writings influenced a lot of purchasers but the British market research and data analytics company, YouGov, conducted a poll in late January of 1,072 U.S. adults who own a cell phone, asking them their opinions about MVNOs.
I want to share some of these results, courtesy of a wonderful article by Linda Hardesty from Fierce Wireless which is reprinted in part with their permission:
Asked how likely they would be to consider switching to an MVNO for their mobile service needs, 29% said they were likely to switch.
For those considering a switch to MVNOs (very likely or somewhat likely), cost emerged as a key motivator. Fifty percent cited lower costs as a compelling reason for a potential switch. Close behind, 45% appreciate the allure of more flexible contracts, while a third (33%) value customer reviews and recommendations.
Conversely, among those unlikely to consider MVNOs, the primary deterrent was satisfaction with their current provider, as stated by 55% of the respondents (see below).
In this scenario, on top of the 55% of respondents who would be unlikely to switch from a carrier to an MVNO, 43 percent cited network reliability and 28% lack of trust along with another 28% citing concerns about data privacy and security.
How To Get Them To Switch To Your MVNO?
To me, based on this data, it seems our MVNOs need to significantly improve how they educate their customers—and the retail salespeople in their dealers' stores—about the customers' network concerns. Customers need to understand that you would provide them with their service from the same towers and infrastructure that their current provider does. Yes, certain rate plans at the higher end avoid any throttling or network prioritization; but conversely, many subscribers WOULD switch because of lower costs.
Do the Work and Train, Train, Train!
There is a happy middle ground here. It needs to be communicated that you are an MVNO and can offer lower costs as you don’t have to build and maintain a billion-dollar network; with the emphasis that you are using the same towers, etc. It is not a hard sales pitch if your retail people are EDUCATED and can answer this very straightforward objection.
THE BOTTOM LINE…..customers who are direct with the carriers, whether they are through a corporate-owned store or an exclusive branded retailer WILL make the change if you properly explain these simple facts.
In other news, my Podcast, The Boon of Wireless, officially launches on Thursday, February 15th with two exciting episodes (shhhh.. the guests are still under wraps but you won’t be disappointed). Look for the audio version on Apple, Google, and Spotify and the audio/video version (which I highly recommend! on YouTube. All of the details will be listed on my LinkedIn page on February 15th www.linkedin/in/jonhorovitz and cross-posted on other sites as well. Two additional episodes have already been completed and will drop by February 22, 2024.
Please feel free to comment, like, and subscribe to the channel you're listening to/watching on.
Also, Atrium Unlimited Consulting (www.atriumunlimited.com) is heading to Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain which should be a wonderful educational experience for us and the chance to see old friends and make new ones. If you’re going and want to connect, please visit www.atriumunlimited.com/contact and drop us a note. Hope to see you there!