South African mobile consumers have reacted favourably to several of the country’s top mobile providers decreasing data and telecoms pricing in 2021.
According to DataEQ’s newest South African Telecoms Sentiment Index, price sentiment in the telecommunications industry has increased by 6.4 percentage points over the previous year.
In collaboration with Deloitte Africa, the yearly index is produced.
After the mobile carriers decided to lower the price of their 1GB, 30-day data bundle offering in 2021, Vodacom, Telkom, and Cell C witnessed the most shifts in favourable sentiment connected to price adjustments.
MTN and Vodacom’s pricing were dropped from R99 to R85, and Cell C’s from R95 to R85, while Telkom’s price was reduced from R99 to R79.
According to the DataEQ research, “Cell C’s data pricing were frequently a source of favourable brand comparisons and recommendations, with users applauding the Home Connecta 100GB offer for its affordability.”
Network coverage has a negative reputation.
According to the survey, poor network coverage and bad customer service are two of the primary causes contributing to unfavourable consumer opinion.
Demonstrating the level of negative sentiment towards telcos, the study shows that the telecoms industry recorded the lowest average (-31%) net sentiment in comparison to the banking (-7.5%), insurance (1.4%) and retail industry (4.1%).
“Amid increasing data traffic, telcos have battled for additional broadband spectrum,” says Deloitte Africa’s Gill Hofmeyr.
Poor network connection, partly due to insufficient spectrum infrastructure as well as load shedding, reportedly made up a third of all operational complaints observed in the study.
Africa’s largest mobile operator MTN registered the largest year-on-year decline in sentiment on the network quality front – down 7.2 percentage points on the previous year.
Poor customer service by the industry was also a pain point for customers. MTN customers seemed to complain most about telephonic interactions and staff competency, while rain customers were aggrieved by the lack of response to email and website complaints. Vodacom customers complained about the lack of response to complaints posted on the Vodacom mobile app.
According to the index, the country’s telcos replied to 41.3% of priority conversations. Vodacom recorded the fastest response rate of 1.7 hours, while Cell C came in second at 2.4 hours.
“Notwithstanding some successful brand and influencer campaigns, customer experience remained a major shortcoming across the industry, with consumer sentiment for this aspect worsening year-on-year,” says DataEQ managing director Melanie Malherbe.
To improve customer sentiment, the study finds that telcos will have to work on improving customer service – while the industry will have to invest in improving infrastructure and capacity.
This may come in the shape of investing in spectrum and infrastructure that will shield customers from the effects of load shedding, which is a key point of frustration for mobile users in general.
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