ESRI Research Bulletin

How mobile phone customers fare when staying with their operator but switching plan

ESRI Research Bulletin Articles provide short summaries of work published by ESRI researchers and overviews of thematic areas covered by ESRI programmes of research. Bulletin Articles are designed to be easily accessible to a wide readership. A reference or references to the full publication is included at the start of each Bulletin article.

April 26, 2022
Attachment Size
Download PDF 643.03 KB

Consumers are often encouraged to search for better deals to benefit from more suitable services and better value for money. Consumer switching, and the threat it imposes for businesses, can also encourage competition among service providers. Mobile phone services are no different. Like those of many services, many mobile phone users are reluctant to search for better deals or to switch supplier. While past research has focused on ways to increase consumer search and switching between suppliers, consumers also normally have the option of staying with their operator but switching plans. Less is known about this sort of switching. Our study examined how consumers fare when they choose to switch plan but stay with their mobile service provider. Do they spend more or less? Can we tell if they have got better value by switching? Mobile plans have many dimensions and features including call minutes, texts, data allowances, handset provisions, as well as other components of offers such as entertainment packages. International evidence suggests that some consumers find it challenging to identify the best possible plan for their needs, and this complexity may put some of them off searching or switching entirely. Policymakers and regulators are trying to fix this problem by designing regulatory measures that can help consumers to make good choices. This research is intended to assist with the development of such measures.