Verizon saw more of its customers switching to a different carrier in the US during the second quarter of 2017, compared to the other major US wireless carriers. This data comes from Cowen and Company and via its ‘2Q17 Wireless Survey’ which was released this morning. While all of the major carriers saw some migration during the second quarter of this year, it seems Verizon saw the most.
The data here focuses on postpaid customers who have switched carriers during the second quarter of 2017, and who had only been with that carrier for two years or less. So the data does not take into consideration customers who may have been with a carrier for longer periods of time, and who also may have switched. Likewise, the data does not seem to take into account those who may have switched over from prepaid to postpaid with the same carrier. As for why this might be the case, Cowen’s Colby Synesael explained that “Verizon’s late response” to the changes in price competition could be one of the key reasons.
A sentiment which is probably best understood in terms of the recent developments with unlimited data. These unlimited options do seem to be one of the driving forces in the US wireless market at the moment and all four major carriers noted here now offer unlimited data in one form or another. However, when it comes to Verizon, the carrier was the last to join the unlimited bandwagon. With the suggestion being that arriving so late may have affected its ability to compete with the more-established options from the other major carriers. Likewise, there is also the suggestion that in spite of Verizon focusing on its claimed better network and coverage, consumers may be happy to sacrifice on network quality in return for better pricing. Although this is not a sentiment that is in line with another recent survey - which suggested network quality was still the most important aspect to consumers, followed by cost, and then unlimited data. It does also need to be pointed out that in spite of the criticisms leveled at Verizon here, Synesael also noted that Verizon’s “brand/image still commands a solid #1 position.” With the suggestion that while these numbers may not be a major concern to Verizon right now, if the trend continues, they could prove more problematic over the long term. The summary below provides a good overview of the customer switching data noted during Cowen and Company’s 2Q17 Wireless Survey.