Mobile broadband customers are not fooled by ostensibly cheap headline charges and needlessly high download limits and instead place more value on the standard of service they are given, according to T-Mobile’s head of internet and entertainment.
Recently 3 introduced a tariff which offered a 15GB download limit for just £15 per month. The move has prompted much speculation that T-Mobile will be forced to offer a similarly priced deal in weeks to come. By way of comparison, T-Mobile’s maximum download limit on post-pay plans is 5GB.
However, in an exclusive interview with Top 10 Broadband Richard Warmsley of the network said that in fact customers are sceptical of deals with low charges and instead rate mobile broadband providers by the standard of service they provide. He noted that since T-Mobile performs well in this respect there is no need for it to review its pricing plans and download limits in order to compete for business.
To back up his assertion he drew attention to a recent customer survey in which T-Mobile’s mobile broadband services came top in nine of the 13 categories measured.
Mr Warmsley commented: “The YouGov survey that we’ve just had the results for show that customers are rating us more consistently in terms of overall quality of service and for value for money than they are the other networks. This suggests that the overall experience is more important to them than a technical maximum, which is a theoretical one anyway that most people won’t hit.”
He added: “We think we’ve played an important role in driving honest claims about speeds and fair pricing without sneaky charges at the end where typically you get a nice headline, but there's actually a sting in the tail. And we’ve seen that what that’s meant is that the kind of customer satisfaction and loyalty that we’re getting is higher than other providers.”
News of his comments comes just days after 3 and O2 came in for heavy criticism from a broadband price comparison site over a perceived lack of transparency in their pricing plans. The site claimed that this has meant that many of the providers’ customers are being hit with unexpectedly high charges for exceeding their limits.
Mr Warmsely said that he concurs with the criticism and said that some companies’ unclear pricing plans and high charges are evidence that improving transparency must be at the heart of the proposed code of conduct for mobile broadband providers.
“It’s really easy to put a nice headline price and then charge high rate for excess use, but it’s not fair on the customer and the code should address this. Furthermore, I’d like to see the code being very transparent about what a real customer experience would be. It should also be as transparent as possible about where a customer will actually get that experience."
Quizzed on prospects of the mobile broadband sector this year, Mr Warmsley stressed that the pervading challenge for providers is communicating the benefits of it to customers and clearly explaining how it fits in with their lifestyle and existing broadband services.