Nearly Half of Americans Have Switched Wireless Provider

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According to a new survey from the USA based National Consumers League (NCL), many adults in the U.S. are purchasing a wide variety of communication services and are ready to embrace new technologies in the future: 39% of adults who use a landline said they are likely to give it up and use only a wireless phone at home within the next two years; and 46% of those who have heard of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) said it was likely that they would switch from their traditional landline service to this technology.


A Washington-based nonprofit education and advocacy organization, NCL commissioned the telephone survey of 1,000 adults, conducted by Harris Interactive, to better understand consumers’ current and future use of telephone, Internet, and television services such as cable and satellite.

“People seem to be excited about new communications options,” said Susan Grant, Vice President for Public Policy at NCL. “More choices are good for consumers, but they need help navigating this increasingly complex communications marketplace.”

Many consumers have taken advantage of their ability to choose from multiple telephone providers; three-quarters of those with long-distance service have switched their long distance carriers (76%), and nearly half (45%) of those with local service have switched their local service providers. Similarly, nearly half (47%) of those with wireless service have switched providers. Each month, consumers who have these services report that they pay an average of US$70 for telephone, US$51 for television and US$28 for Internet.

But they aren’t always happy with what they get. Consumers are most satisfied with the services for which they believe they have a choice of providers – landline telephone, wireless telephone, and Internet services. Among these services, cable television, for which few consumers have a choice of providers, rated lowest in terms of satisfaction with quality and value.

There are significant gaps in which services consumers have and how they use them. For example, 65% of adults with incomes over US$100,000 have high-speed Internet access compared to 14% of those who make less than US$25,000 a year, and 40% of those aged 18 to 24 have high-speed Internet access, while only 18% of people aged 65 and older do. Cost is a factor: 35% of respondents with dial-up Internet service cited cost as the reason they don’t have high-speed service.

The survey also showed that consumers are interested in bundles of services – if the price is right. But some find it hard to comparison shop for services, and advertisements don’t give them all the information they need to do so. Twenty-six percent of respondents said it is difficult to understand their phone bills.