Customer dissatisfaction with mobile operators has been linked to a lack of investment in digital technology and services in a new report.

Capgemini Consulting surveyed over 5,700 customers of 48 mobile operators in nine countries and found a positive correlation between the use of digital channels – notably websites, mobile apps and social media - and net promoter score (NPS).

Operators with a high NPS garnered average revenue growth of 33 percent between 2012 and 2014, while those with a low NPS suffered average revenue decline of seven percent.

Only customers in Germany, the UK and the US gave their operators a positive NPS.

Subscribers in the Netherlands were the most negative, followed by Spain, Norway, Sweden and France. Belgians were neutral.

The consulting firm said the successful operators had all adopted either a digital-only operating model or a hybrid model with a greater focus on digital channels.

Just eight percent think the existence of a physical store is a “must-have” for operators.

The report noted this is not just a millennial or Generation Y concern. Only nine percent of over 65s think retail shops are required.

The implications are serious with 46 percent of consumers who rated their mobile operator “poor” in terms of use of digital technologies planning to switch within the next year, the survey found.

Fifty-eight percent said that they would switch over to a digital-only operator that exclusively uses digital channels to interact with customers.

Worryingly for the industry as a whole, 44 percent said they would switch to Google, Facebook or Apple should they launch mobile services.

Romain Delavenne, Vice President, Capgemini Consulting, commented: “Consumer expectations of telco providers have changed, but many operators have failed to provide what they demand, leading to low customer satisfaction.

“Slow roll-out of digital services lies at the heart of the issue and this is a clarion call for operators to accelerate their digital transformation efforts or risk disruption from digital-only players.

“Many incumbent operators are saddled with legacy platforms and distribution channels that make true digital transformation difficult.

“For many incumbents, realising quickly the benefits of digital could be tackled by launching greenfield, digital-only operations in the short term while continuing with core digital transformation efforts in parallel.”

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