Consumers are increasingly putting customer care and operators’ service, device portfolios as their key reasons for being loyal, a new report had found.

The Nokia-commissioned survey covered more than 20,000 users across 14 markets and 28 operators.

It found that cost and billing issues remain the largest driver of retention (40 percent) but these have fallen by five percentage points over the last two years.

The importance of the network to retention strategies is also on the wane, falling eight percentage points over the period to 26 percent.

In contrast, customer care has risen nine percentage points to 24 percent, while operators’ service and device portfolios gained four percentage points to reach 10 percent.

Offering free services, such as video and music services, can improve retention by as much as 11 percent, the report said.

When it comes to choosing an operator, price is again the biggest driver with 45 percent.

Network coverage (26 percent) and family or friends already being with an operator (22 percent) round out the top three.

Customer care and complimentary products and services both get 17 percent of the vote.

Interestingly, 55 percent of consumers in mature markets claim not to use messaging apps versus just 14 percent in non-mature markets.

Constraints around data allowance, speed and cost are the main barriers to customers using apps.

More than a third of consumers, 38 percent, said they would be more open to receiving ads on their mobile if they contained relevant information that was targeted to their needs in exchange for rewards and benefits. The majority thinks ads are intrusive currently.

Looking forward, a majority of consumers expressed an interest in getting connected devices, notably for the home, as a value-added service.

A further 28 percent of consumers in mature markets and 40 percent elsewhere stated that they would be willing to pay a premium of five
percent for additional security protection.

Bhaskar Gorti, Applications and Analytics President at Nokia, said: "We can see the marketing battles to acquire mobile subscribers are fierce.

“What we don't see as well is the work operators do every day to retain customers.

“Our study shows how important that work is - and also how challenging it is as customers, attached to their phones, demand higher levels of service."

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