MVNO customers are less active on social media in the U.K. than those of the four big mobile networks, according to a research report, which assessed how Britons use their smartphones for social media purposes.
Two-thirds of O2, 3 UK and EE customers check social media on their smartphones once a day or more, compared to 59 percent of Vodafone customers. MVNO customers are less active on social media—on average, 34 percent of Tesco Mobile, TalkTalk Mobile, Virgin Mobile and Sky Mobile customers never check social media on their phones, compared to 18 percent of customers of the big four operators.
Overall, 60 percent of Britons check social media on their smartphones at least once a day, with over 35 percent of users citing websites or apps not loading as the main network problem they encounter. Sixty-five percent of adults in the U.K. now share videos and photos of friends and family privately via OTT apps such as WhatsApp, compared to 33 percent who share such content publicly on social media networks.
To the extent that the U.K. can be considered indicative of general consumer behavior trends within highly developed markets, the results of this study indicate that there are certain limits on MVNO consumption patterns that operators or other entities contemplating entering this sector should bear in mind.
According to the study, roughly twice as many MVNO subscribers in the U.K. never check social media on their phones as subscribers of the big four MNOs. A huge amount of mobile data is consumed via social media, now that rich content such as video, images and music can easily be shared via these platforms. But if MVNO subscribers are not making maximum use of this facility, MVNO providers will find it harder to derive maximum data revenues.
As for the reasons why MVNO customers use social media less often, cost may be one of them. Use of OTT apps is frequently offered on a zero-rated basis, and as such may provide a cheaper way to share content. Perhaps zero-rating social media sites could be a strategy for MVNOs to use, at least temporarily, to stimulate activity.
Signal quality may also be an issue, given that the study states that 35 percent of users (not just MVNO users) cite slow or no loading as the reason why they do not check social media or check it less often. Whether MVNOs are yielding lower speeds or have more connectivity problems is not clear. But if signal quality among budget MVNOs is lower than that of the big four’s MNO services, perhaps what this means is simply that MVNOs have built-in limits to how much revenue they can hope to derive from the transmission of data-heavy content, via social media and otherwise.