EU consumer survey reveals major changes in communication habits

Forget public payphones and printed phone books, users have new digital priorities   ETNO, the Association representing Europe’s largest telecom operators, and ComRes, the...

Chema Alonso

Chema Alonso

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Forget public payphones and printed phone books, users have new digital priorities

ETNO, the Association representing Europe’s largest telecom operators, and ComRes, the leading research consultancy, have presented today a new consumer survey on the digital habits and expectations of Europeans in nine major EU markets.

The survey comes as the European Commission launches a wide-ranging consultation with a view to reforming the rules on telecom markets. Results show the new EU consumer priorities when using such services.

ETNO believes that consumers’ new priorities and the convergence of digital services need to shape the upcoming policy debate. To ensure consistent and up-to-date protection standards across highly competitive digital markets, the currently fragmented regulatory framework needs reforming.

Personal data: a new currency?

Consumers appear to not be fully confident in their understanding of protection standards over the use of their personal data. The research shows that only one in eight respondents (12%) are fully aware of the higher levels of data protection when using regulated telecom services as opposed to online services.

However, almost eight in ten consumers (77%) clearly say that internet-based communication providers should be “legally required” to inform them when there is a breach in their personal data.

Consumers also see data as an opportunity, but they want clarity. As online services increasingly demand access to their personal data, 56% of the respondents believe they should be offered a clear option between paying a monetary fee for using a service or sharing personal data instead.

Consumer priorities on Smartphones, Apps and Operating systems

According to the results of the survey, one in two Europeans would value “being able to use any App provided by any App store on their smartphone” (49%) or being able to transfer the App to another phone if they change their operating system (53%). If we zoom in on young consumers (15-24 yrs), 65% of them would value such features.

The ComRes survey also provided a ranking based on the perceived barriers in switching between internet-based services or between social media platforms. “Friends not using the same service or provider” is indicated as the main reason for not switching from one social network to another (35%), followed by the inability to transfer one’s own content – such as pictures or conversations (22%).

Quality of service: telcos are ranked high

Consumers also appear to be quite satisfied in terms of reliability of the service, customer service support and information on contract terms of the services surveyed. Consumers indicate that they value the connection reliability of telecom communication services in particular, which is also key for emergency call functionality: on a scale from 1 to 10, the average score is 7, with 45% of respondents rating telecoms’ reliability as good or excellent.

Public phones and printed directories are things of the past

Consumers seem to think public payphones and printed phone books are items for museums. 94% of respondents have not used a public payphone recently, while internet tools are today the main facility used – in all surveyed countries – to find contact details.

Download the report

ComRes interviewed 9,011 people aged 15+ online between 29th June and 13th July 2015. Countries surveyed were: UK, Poland, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Sweden, Estonia, Romania. ComRes has developed the questionnaire, methodology and full report.

This post is a press release of ETNO.


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