A cellular mobile consumer satisfaction survey has revealed that MTN and Vodafone, two of the leaders in the mobile communications industry, failed to meet any of the benchmarks stipulated by the National Communications Authority (NCA) in 2012 and 2013.
TiGo, Airtel and Expresso, three of the companies in the industry, met only one of the benchmarks, which is overall quality of service.
GLO-Mobile, which entered the market a few months prior to the survey, met all the NCA?s stipulated benchmarks, with the exception of supplementary services.
This was contained in a survey report presented by the NCA in Accra Monday.
The objectives of the survey were to, among other things, capture consumers? evaluation of service attributes and expectations from all mobile service providers, evaluate the level of consumer satisfaction with the various mobile service operators, measure the level of service delivery in the mobile telephone industry and evaluate the relative performance of providers among themselves with respect to defined attributes.
The NCA has set a benchmark of 85 per cent or more for billing performance and help or enquiry services, 90 per cent for supplementary services and 75 per cent for overall quality of service.
Supplementary services refer to what a consumer?s phone can be used for, apart from receiving calls, such as mobile money and Internet services.
Billing and tariffs involve charges exacted on the consumer for the use of his or her phone to make calls.
The survey revealed that 74.7 per cent of mobile subscribers were satisfied with the services of their mobile network operators, while 25.3 per cent were not.
About 13,119 mobile phone users, representing a 95 per cent response rate, took part in the survey in 400 enumeration. Two hundred and two were from the urban areas, while 198 were from rural areas.
Out of the 6,000 households which participated in the survey, 3,030 were from urban areas and 2,970 from rural communities.
According to the report, the survey was able to determine the various activities mobile phones were used for, the number of service providers the average consumer was connected to and consumers? likes and dislikes about their service providers.
?Interestingly, the survey findings were able to indicate the wealth distribution of mobile phone subscribers across the country,? it said.
It said a little more than 50 per cent of mobile service customers claimed they did not encounter any problem in their last 10 call attempts, with Expresso customers expressing the highest rate of hassle-free calls at 71.0 per cent, followed by GLO users at 67.8 per cent; TiGo users, 63.6 per cent; Airtel users, 62.2 per cent, and Vodafone users, 54.9 per cent.
?MTN trails behind with only 44.9 per cent of users stating they had no problems,? it said.
The report also noted that for all the service providers, the proportion of urban customers who did not encounter problems was consistently and significantly higher than their rural counterparts.
The survey also revealed that the most popular activities that mobile phones were used for included making and/or receiving calls (97 per cent of consumers nationwide), sending and/or receiving emails and Internet browsing.
According to the survey, more than 76 per cent of rural consumers, compared to about 64 per cent of urban users, were connected to only one network.
In effect, only about 24 per cent of rural consumers, compared to 36 per cent of those in urban areas, were able to connect to two or more mobile service providers.
The Director of Consumer and Corporate Affairs of the NCA, Mrs Nana Defie Badu, described the mobile cellular market as ?ever changing? within the telecommunications sector, with consumers becoming more discerning, refined and expectant of service providers.
?To be direct, consumers require value for every pesewa they spend,? she said.
It was in line with carrying out its mandate of protecting the consumer that the authority commissioned the research, she added.
Mrs Badu said the NCA had commissioned surveys in 2007 and 2009, adding, however, that this was the first time it was making its findings public.
?We believe that it is necessary to do this to ensure that Ghanaians have an understanding of how they perceive their service providers,? she added.
She said in the view of the NCA, the findings would go a long way to help operators identify critical areas that needed improvement and enhance service experience for consumers.
That, she added, would further promote sustainable growth in the country?s telecom market.
?For the NCA, the survey has provided us with an indication of consumer perception towards the mobile network operators and the various issues which consumers are satisfied or dissatisfied with. This has provided an evidence base to enable the authority to tackle identified gaps by focusing on compliance and monitoring.
?A clear example is the Billing Feedback Message which prepaid consumers receive after making calls. This directive is just one of the actions that the NCA took to address consumer perception that they were not satisfied with operators? billing and tariffs.
?Finally, with three nationwide cellular mobile satisfaction surveys, the authority would be in a better position to determine trends within the sectors and assess for growth or otherwise, which will also contribute to the development of regulations and policies to advance the communications industry,? Mrs Badu said.