Carrier customers in the United States are primarily concerned with the cost of their plans and network performance, according to a survey conducted by Jefferies. The first concern, the cost of plans, holds true for the subscribers of the larger US carriers Verizon and AT&T. These two carriers have considerably more expensive postpaid plans compared to smaller competition and MVNOs. T-Mobile and Sprint successfully lured subscribers from both carriers after offering unlimited plans. To prevent the further exodus of consumers from its networks, both carriers have since offered their own versions of unlimited data plans. Aside from pricing, the fine print associated with these carriers' plans and contracts is also a source of frustration among Verizon and AT&T subscribers.
Speaking of the two smaller carriers, consumers on both carriers are primarily concerned about the performance of their respective networks. The key issues with network performance include coverage and data speeds. Survey results emphasized that the subscribers on the smaller carriers, especially T-Mobile, have been in situations where they lose cellular connection. The carriers have been trying to reduce the occurrence of similar situations with T-Mobile rolling out LTE network on the better propagating 600MHz spectrum as soon as broadcasters vacate the aforementioned frequency. In addition, customers of Sprint and T-Mobile still have the impression that they are getting comparatively slower speeds from their carriers compared to the subscribers of AT&T and Verizon. This is despite the efforts of both carriers to increase data speeds by deploying small cells in urban locations and rolling out relevant technologies like carrier aggregation.
Jefferies also asked the survey respondents on whether they plan to switch carriers within the next 12 months. Survey results indicate that Sprint customers are the most likely to consider switching carriers. On the other hand, AT&T subscribers are the least likely to do the same thing, with Verizon and T-Mobile trailing the carrier. The increased likelihood of Sprint customers to leave the carrier is attributed to the sudden termination of customer-luring promos like the discounted plans. The behavior observed among Sprint subscribers is a manifestation of another interesting trend uncovered by Jefferies, wherein more than three-fourths of survey respondents may change carriers or transfer to a cheaper plan once prices increase.