21 per cent of UK mobile subscribers don’t know what their next network operator will be, or if they’ll stay with their current one, according to research from analyst firm ICM. That’s fairly consistent across the big networks – something which ICM sees as an opportunity for operators to acquire new customers, as well as a challenge in terms of retention.
“What’s really interesting is that, at an overall level, all of the operators have the possibility of losing market share. There’s just so much out there at the moment,” ICM Research associate director Jamie Belnikoff told Mobile Marketing. “It’s a similar story with handset manufacturers – they’re all vulnerable, except Apple.”
42 per cent of mobile users, meanwhile, don’t know what their next handset will be. It’s less of a level playing field than with operators, however – while 23 per cent of those surveyed currently have a Nokia phone, sharing the lead with Samsung, only 9 per cent expect their next handset to be a Nokia.
“Half of Nokia users not sure what they’re going to do next,” says Belnikoff. “The thing to remember is that a lot of those aren’t smartphone users, so they’re currently at a crossroads. The challenge for Nokia is whether or not it can convince them to try a Lumia.”
Based on this research, the two manufacturers most likely to shed users are HTC and BlackBerry, with a total 28 per cent of BlackBerry users and 32 per cent of HTC users currently considering other handsets. Interestingly, while BlackBerry users are most likely to migrate to Apple devices (at 16 per cent), HTC emigrants mostly intend to stay within the Android fold, but on a Samsung device (17 per cent).
This research is only the first wave of ICM’s look at mobile operators and handsets. The survey will be running again this September, and Belnikoff says the key will be in the trend data. “We’ll be able to see whether Samsung has closed the gap on Apple,” he says. “What’s going to happen with HTC and BlackBerry? How’s the Lumia coming through? And what kind of impact – if any at all – will new handsets have on the market?”