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Nearly half of Kiwis feel 'naked' if they leave their phone behind

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Consumer insights agency Canstar Blue can today reveal that 42 percent of Kiwis feel ‘naked’ if they have gone somewhere and forgotten their phone, while 48 percent use their phone more than their computer or laptop.

In its mobile provider survey, Canstar Blue found that 2degrees’ customers were most satisfied for post-paid plans, while in the prepaid category Skinny had the most satisfied customers. Both providers received the overall satisfaction accolade for the fifth consecutive year.

Smartphone penetration and usage never higher

A majority of Kiwis are finding mobile phones increasingly indispensable to everyday life. New Zealand had 3.8 million mobile phones with active internet connections in June 2017, up 11 percent from 2016[1]. Meanwhile, the number of home broadband connections decreased three percent over the same period, highlighting the importance of smartphone connectivity to our lifestyles.

Mobile phone internet usage increased 104 percent from June 2016, to 6,453TB a year later. This is around 1,700MB for each mobile connection, nearly doubling the 900MB per connection year on year. With 1,700MB, you can listen to 40 hours of music, look at 700 photos, or view two hours of videos[2]. This growth has continued unhindered over the past few years.

New Zealanders clearly favour prepaid packages over mobile plans, with just 21 percent of the 4,551 survey respondents stating that they currently have an active post-paid plan. By contrast prepay respondents amounted to 79 percent.

2degrees post-paid plan customers remain happy

Mobile post-paid plan providers 2degrees, Spark and Vodafone were compared on customer service, value for money, accessibility, network coverage, billing, assistance managing data and overall satisfaction. Rating five stars across all categories bar one, 2degrees has the most satisfied customers five years on the trot.

"It’s our 10th birthday this year - and this Canstar Award is a great way to celebrate. We’re really committed to offering our mobile customers a fair deal and fantastic value. Case in point, we’ve just launched a discounted Kiwi Heroes plan for first responders, teachers, nurses and the military.

"Our new Unlimited Mobile plan offers free hotspotting, and if customers choose to pool with three mates, they will only pay an average of $40 per person, per month," said Scott Taylor, Chief of Consumer for 2degrees.

Prepay customers again rate Skinny best for overall satisfaction

Another five-time winner, Skinny, rated strongly against key satisfaction metrics of value for money, customer service, accessibility, billing, network coverage and overall satisfaction. For the second year running, Skinny also scooped the Canstar Blue Most Satisfied Customers Award for broadband last month - gaining top marks across all facets.

"We’re rather delighted to pick up another customer satisfaction award, our second in as many months, and our seventh Canstar Blue Award in total over five years. These results reiterate that our purpose - ‘We’ll do anything to keep prices low and customers happy’ - resonates with Kiwis, who have told us they want low prices and great service," says Ally Young, Brand Manager for Skinny.

"We’re proud to have the overall most satisfied prepaid mobile and broadband customers of any telco in New Zealand."

Mobile market bursting with options

With connected devices now front and centre in Kiwi lifestyles, it’s important that New Zealanders get the best post-paid plan or prepaid package for their needs, says Canstar New Zealand’s General Manager, Jose George.

"As a customer there is a huge amount of choice in the mobile market across the board, not necessarily in terms of provider but in available plans and prepaid products. Our advice is to assess what you primarily use your mobile for, then compare providers. You should also have a monthly spend figure at the outset which helps to determine whether to invest in a new device through a monthly plan, to buy a device outright, or to continue using your current handset.

"And remember to familiarise yourself with the terms and conditions of mobile plans, to understand the consequences of breaking a contract before you enter into it. If you’re not sure where you’ll be from one year to the next, consider a prepaid package."

With smartphone usage growing, so too are concerns. This year 42 percent of respondents said they worry that children can access unsuitable content too easily, up from 36 percent in 2018. And more of us are using the internet to find love, with nearly one-fifth of respondents reporting they have used an online dating website.

One thing is certain. As our lives become increasingly connected, and smartphones dominate our personal device usage, the importance of choosing the right post-paid plan or prepaid package grows. So it pays to do your research.

The full research commentary and provider comparisons for post-paid plans can be found on Canstar Blue’s website here. For prepaid packages and providers, click here.

Research highlights-

Mobile phone research insights

42% of respondents feel ‘naked’ if they’ve forgotten their phone

48% of respondents use their phone more than their computer or laptop

79% of respondents have an active prepaid mobile phone account in their name and they are the bill payer

21% of respondents have an active mobile phone plan account in their name and they are the bill payer

58% of respondents use apps to communicate with others (e.g. Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, WhatsApp) more than traditional calls and texts

55% of respondents use their phone for everyday things like banking, paying bills or paying at the checkout

42% of respondents no longer have a broadband connection at home

25% of respondents download apps that they never use

20% of respondents have switched providers to get better value for money

23% of respondents have used their mobile (not hands free or Bluetooth) while driving

33% of respondents keep track of their mobile plan usage to get value for money

20% of respondents use their mobile to take selfies/photos at least once a day

59% of respondents have sent text messages while walking

12% of respondents have been stung by overseas roaming charges

11% of respondents have snooped on their partner’s emails or text messages

48% of respondents have used their phone while they’re on the loo

39% of respondents often stream videos and listen to music on their mobile

9% of respondents regularly upgrade their phone handset with the latest version

Broadband research insights:

42% of respondents worry that children can access unsuitable content too easily

35% of respondents use their personal social media at work

48% of respondents have no idea how much data they use each month

19% of respondents have used an online dating website

(13% in 2018, 15% in 2017)

2019 Canstar Blue Overall Customer Satisfaction Award winner is 2degrees for mobile post-paid plans, and Skinny for prepaid

-From Canstar Blue’s Broadband and Mobile Customer Satisfaction Surveys, finalised March and April 2019 respectively, published in April and May 2019 respectively

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