Reputation Survey: Mobile phone firms struggle to connect

The public views mobile phone operators as greedy and expensive, thinks they should be more tightly regulated and is confused about how 4G will work.

What survey respondents think of mobile phone companies
What survey respondents think of mobile phone companies

Everything Everywhere may have just received permission to become the first network to offer 4G services in the UK, but its brands Orange and TMobile are less popular than rival O2, new research reveals.

In PRWeek/OnePoll's latest survey, only seven per cent said TMobile had the best reputation among service providers.

Orange was selected by a much higher 17 per cent, while O2 received 28 per cent.

Everything Everywhere has a big comms challenge on its hands - more than half of those surveyed did not know what 4G was. The provider must also be careful about the cost of the new service: 79 per cent of respondents believed Ofcom should do more to force mobile phone providers to protect them against high data charges.

A phone's price was the main factor people considered when choosing a model, particularly for those consumers aged over 55. However, almost half of those surveyed said having internet access on their phone was very important to them.

A quarter of those surveyed said 'greedy' when asked the one word they would use to describe mobile phone companies. 'Expensive' was the next most popular and 'OK' was the most common positive response.

Apple received a further boost after its recent US court victory over Samsung. Forty-seven per cent of respondents believed Apple had the best reputation of all mobile phone manufacturers and the majority thought its phones were the most innovative. Only 14 per cent of people said Samsung was the most innovative.

Survey of 2,000 members of the public conducted by global research agency OnePoll.



The survey delivers some interesting insights into how UK mobile operators can maximise the effectiveness of subscriber acquisition and retention campaigns.

Internet access is important for the vast majority of mobile phone users so TMobile and Orange potentially stand to gain, as Everything Everywhere introduces 4G mobile broadband services.

But the promise of 4G may not be enough to turn the heads of every subscriber. When it comes to selecting a mobile, it's clear that the dominant factor is price, followed by the feature set of the device.

In contrast, the brand of handset and design seems to be far less important. It appears mobile users are not brand loyal, which is a finding that was echoed by research we conducted recently.

The PRWeek/OnePoll survey results show the dominance of Apple in consumer minds for innovation, reputation and reliability, yet mobile operators may be wise to consider price, quality of service and features.

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