Customer Perceptions of South African Cellular Network Operators

By Maharaj, Mandusha | Indian Journal of Economics and Business, August 2012 | Go to article overview

Customer Perceptions of South African Cellular Network Operators


Maharaj, Mandusha, Indian Journal of Economics and Business


Abstract

Mobile phones have become part and parcel of the telecommunication landscape in South Africa generating access to 92% of the population. The three cellular network operators engage incontinuous development of mobile phone products and services to increase the average revenue per user (ARPU). However, there is a general consensus worldwide that the revenue from voice calls is reaching saturation and South Africa is no exception. The focus of this study is to examine the impact of the declining average revenue per user on the sustainability of the mobile phone industry, from a customer relationship management perspective. Due to the large number of pre-paid subscribers in KwaZulu-Natal, the multi-stage sampling method was adopted to conduct a survey of 500 mobile phone subscribers. In order to obtain an customer perspective, self-completion questionnaires were administered. Descriptive and inferential statistical tests were undertaken from the responses (questionnaires) to generate an analysis of customer needs. The key findings of the revealed the nature of the relationships subscribers (KwaZulu-Natal) has with their respective network operators. The results emphasised the need for aligning marketing strategies with customer care It was also found that the cost of mobile phone services influences consumer purchase and usage patterns.

1. INTRODUCTION

Telecommunications has made life simple, easy and accessible. In 1876, Graham Bell invented a talking device that could transmit the human voice to a listener. However, Bell's telephone had a weak flow of signals which made hearing difficult. This problem was overcome with the introduction of carbon transmitters by Thomas Edison in 1878. As a result, by the end of the 19th century electromagnetic waves were used as a communication medium. Consequently, the first mobile phone for use in cars was introduced in the early 1950's. The car telephones were soon outdated with the introduction of analog cellular (first generation 1G) during the late 1970s and early 1980s. The mobile phone technology is a fusion of technologies such as transmission networks, software, multimedia interfaces etc. mobile phones are two-way radios. When one person talks into a mobile phone, it picks up the voice of the person and converts the sound into radio frequency energy. The radio waves travel through the air until they reach the receiver at a base station. The base station then sends the call through the telephone network until it reaches another person (Avvannavar, Kumar, Shrihare & Babu Are, 2008). However, the first modern network technology on digital known as second generation (2G) system was introduced by the need for improved transmission quality, system capacity and coverage presently, resulting in the introduction of 3G phones (Kreutzer, 2009).

A mobile phone is a type of short-wave analog or digital telecommunication in which a subscriber has a wireless connection from a mobile phone to a relatively nearby transmitter. The transmitter's span of coverage is called a cell. As a mobile/ cell phone user moves from one cell or area of coverage to another, the telephone is passed on to the local cell transmitter. A cell/mobile phone is not to be confused with a cordless phone. The first mobile phone for commercial use was approved by the federal communications in 1983, which weighed two pounds and offered half-our talk time for every recharging and sold for $3995 (what is cellular telephone, 2010). In essence, a mobile phone is a complex radio that facilitates the making and receiving of calls, stores information, records tasks, records appointments and reminders, sends or receives e-mails, gets information, enables use of the internet and also has software to play electronic games (Rapid assessment of cell phones for development, 2007). It is thus a personal device that allows people to stay in touch with others wherever they go and are now used as mini computers. …

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Customer Perceptions of South African Cellular Network Operators
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