Mobile experience explains why some of Australia’s users change mobile operators

Opensignal has analyzed the mobile experience of users that switched mobile operator (or churned). In this new analysis we found that on two out of three mobile network operators Leavers had a worse mobile experience before they switched compared to the typical experience on their original network. 

Optus and Vodafone Leavers had a worse mobile experience before they switched. Leavers who switched from Optus and Vodafone spent 1.7-1.9 times more time with no signal than the average reported for all Opensignal users on those networks. Also, they spent less time connected to either a 3G or 4G mobile connection — 3G/4G Availability — and they experienced 3.1-4.6 percentage points lower 4G Availability.

However, we did not observe any statistically significant difference between the mobile experience of those users leaving Telstra’s network and the average calculated across all our Telstra users. Most likely, mobile experience has a lower impact on Telstra Leavers’ choice because of the extent of Telstra’s 4G network — the operator has been the sole winner of the Opensignal 4G Coverage Experience award ever since we introduced it to the Australian market back in April 2020. Instead, other reasons likely explain Telstra churn, for example relative price, handset choice, or marketing execution. 

We then analyzed the mobile experience of Leavers on their new mobile network provider to understand if Leavers improved their mobile experience after churning. We examined their experience in the first 30 days following their switch and compared that against their experience in the previous 30 days when they were still using their original mobile operator.

When we compared Leavers mobile experience on their new mobile operator many saw just small improvements in their experience or none at all. The exception was Vodafone Leavers who enjoyed improved 4G Availability after switching. We also did not observe significant differences across any of the three operators in the proportion of time that Leavers spent with no signal or their 3G/4G Availability before and after they switched their mobile network operator. 

Opensignal’s analysis of Australian smartphone users shows that mobile network experience is an extremely important driver of churn. Mobile operators with a good mobile network experience need to improve their marketing to communicate the value of a high quality experience to increase mobile subscriber retention. Finally, focusing network investments on reducing the gap between users with the worst and best mobile experience would help operators reduce churn.