Print 24 comment(s) - last by Targon.. on Oct 4 at 8:21 AM

Smartphone users are generally more satisfied than traditional mobile users

For the fourth consecutive time, Apple ranks highest on J.D. Power and Associates Wireless Smartphone Customer Satisfaction Study, the consumer rating company announced yesterday.

The study ranks wireless handsets based on several criteria (listed in order of importance): operation (30%); physical design (30%); features (20%); and battery function (20%). For smartphones, the key factors are: ease of operation (26%); operating system (24%); physical design (23%); features (19%); and battery function (8%).

With a score of 800 out of 1,000, Apple led the pack. But Motorola was only nine points behind, and HTC scored a respectable 781. All three manufacturers topped the industry average of 764. With a score of 711, Nokia ranked dead last, beaten out by Palm, Samsung, and Research In Motion.

The study is based on surveys of more than 6,800 smartphone users conducted between January and June of this year.

The study also examined OS performance. Among those measured, Google's Android OS, Apple's iOS, and Palm's WebOS all performed "particularly well." Factors used in this calculation and tests administered were not announced, so its hard to say what "particularly well" actually means.

J.D. Power also released the results of the Traditional Mobile Phone Satisfaction Survey, which measured more than 11,800 consumers. LG topped that ranking, with a score of 731. Nokia avoided the last slot this time, beating out Kyocera by merely a single point.

The study found that the average wireless bill has also increased, to $78 per month, compared to $69 just three years ago. The increase is attributed to added data services, increase in usage of services like text messaging, and additional taxes and fees.

Because both studies are based on a similar 1,000-point scale, it's interesting to note that the overall satisfaction numbers are higher with smartphones. The mean score of the seven smartphone manufacturers is a little bit higher than 754, while the mean score of the seven traditional mobile manufacturers is just under 700. So, despite paying more, it appears that smartphone users are more satisfied with their devices. Perhaps this, from J.D. Power's press release, can help explain:

Mobile applications continue to enhance the smartphone user experience. More than two-thirds of users say they download third-party games, while 54 percent say they download travel software, such as maps and weather applications. Forty-one percent say they download utility applications, while 36 percent say they download business-specific programs. This indicates that smartphone owners are continuing to integrate their device usage into both their business and personal lives.

It will be interesting to see how satisfaction will be affected by changes in the wireless industry, like Verizon's rollout of LTE and adoption of tiered data plans. Would Apple's satisfaction score increase even more if the iPhone were to make its way to Verizon?

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By Spivonious on 9/24/2010 10:16:13 AM , Rating: 2
Why is cellular service still so expensive? It's been $50-$100 month since cellular phones were introduced.

RE: Cost
By xpax on 9/24/2010 11:45:08 AM , Rating: 3
Why is cellular service still so expensive? It's been $50-$100 month since cellular phones were introduced.

Why? Because the cell companies are enjoying raping you 300% more than they did when the system was introduced.

Although if you ask them, they'll probably babble some inane nonsense about building infrastructure, costs and some other businessy-sounding stuff. It's all a complete lie of course. The proof is in the financial statements, which show that they aren't just breaking even. They're making money. Lots of it.

RE: Cost
By Aloonatic on 9/24/2010 1:02:05 PM , Rating: 2
Because that's what the market can sustain, and what people are wiling to pay.

There are costs involved too, infrastructure set up (which were probably paid for with big loans/finance deals that take a while to pay off) and then there's maintenance and support costs. People cost money, so all the employees who you talk to when you have a problem, and who maintain systems etc are probably a big factor too. Also, and I'm not sure how it works in the US, but in the UK the 3G licenses cost a few billion for the operators. Oh, and profit.

RE: Cost
By Cheesew1z69 on 9/24/2010 2:13:07 PM , Rating: 2
It hasn't been 50-100 a month since they have been introduced, it was hell of a lot more expensive when they first came out. 2-3 times the amount it is now, if not higher.

RE: Cost
By Spivonious on 9/24/2010 2:38:07 PM , Rating: 2
If I'm remembering correctly, my dad's old early 90s "1G" cell phone plan was a $.25 per minute flat rate with added roaming charges, long distance charges, etc. Digital tranmission didn't exist yet, so no data or texting. The phone had to be carried around in a shoulder bag.

So based on where and how much you used it, it could be a lot cheaper than $50-100 per month.

You know they're inflating prices when you can add additional lines for $10 more. A separate phone number is a separate phone inside their system. It's like McDonald's apple pies: 1 for $0.89 or 2 for $1.

I bet they'd still make money if the plans were $10 per month.

RE: Cost
By juhatus on 9/25/2010 5:24:06 PM , Rating: 2
20 euros for a month with speak+messages+data.

move to europe :)

On a sidenote, as its known Nokia sells its phones only through web in US so Johny Rednekcs missing it.

RE: Cost
By SunAngel on 9/25/2010 7:32:59 PM , Rating: 2
LOL, Your our hero.

RE: Cost
By Targon on 10/4/2010 8:21:38 AM , Rating: 2
When a company stops growing its coverage area and keeps the same service for year after year, it costs less money since maintaining a network is less expensive than growing the network. Do you see the cable companies expanding their actual coverage area? Verizon FIOS may be growing its coverage area, but is backed by the income from the cellular network(if it wasn't Verizon that offered FIOS, the capitol investment would be in the billions of dollars, and would be losing so much money the company would go bankrupt 10 years after initial service deployment).

For those not in the USA, if you have ever visited this country and have traveled by car, you would see just how large this country is, and how low the population density is in many regions. Are there any towns in Europe where the population is under 50 people for a ten mile radius? 6.2 Miles=10 Kilometers is the conversion factor, and yet, that is what cellular service providers need to deal with here. Then, put some of those towns in small valleys that you would never encounter since they are off in the mountains/hills well away from any major highway, and you get the idea.

Low population density means fewer potential customers, which in turn means that you have a negative return on investment when it comes to offering a service. The cost to offer cell phone service in the middle of nowhere(farmland areas in Nebraska), or up in Vermont would be higher than the increase in customers due to offering service there.

Yes, people want to see coverage EVERYWHERE, but no one wants their cell phone bill to be 4 times as expensive just so there can be coverage EVERYWHERE in the USA, yet that is what it would take. Most people want every service to be available to them, without understanding that there is a cost associated with providing that service. There are reasons why the focus of the cellular service providers starts on the east cost, west coast, and across the north central part of the USA, with increasing coverage across the Gulf Coast area and into Texas. These are where the population density is high enough to be able to make a profit by expanding. I don't see a time when the midwest can expect total coverage though, unless the government gets involved and provides the land, towers, or financial incentives to make it worth providing the coverage there.

On top of all of this, the move to LTE/4G means that new equipment is needed, more bandwidth to the towers, and a lot of extra testing and work to make compatible cell phones and devices for the new level of service. It is EXPENSIVE, and gets virtually no government assistance. So, that is the key. The cost of phones hasn't gone up, but the cost to provide the service has gone way way way up over the past decade, and that is why prices have followed.

So, if we were all satisfied with no data service and just keeping the same levels of equipment we had back in 1997, then yea, things might get cheaper. If you want to see things improve, then prices tend to go up. In Europe, the different providers also use the same technology, so it is less expensive to run the service since there are economies of scale. Here in the USA, Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T all use different communication protocols, which means we need special versions of phones for each one. This means the equipment in the towers will be different, which means the price is higher.

Both of them
By dani31 on 9/24/2010 10:06:00 AM , Rating: 1
Both Nokia and Apple are arrogant companies that I really dislike.

The only difference between them is the technology of magic (read: bling) a billion fanboys.

RE: Both of them
By RussianSensation on 9/24/2010 10:52:50 AM , Rating: 5
Sorry, not everyone who buys Apple or Nokia are fanboys.

I happen to place 40% emphasis on form factor/design; 50% emphasis on battery life and 10% on OS/Features.

This is why I got the Nokia E72 smartphone:

1) 5-7 days battery life without charging. Not a single Android smartphone or iPhone (etc.) can touch this. All my friends charge their iPhone 3GS/4 every day!
2) Free GPS navigation that doesn't require a data plan
3) Memory card slot to expand memory (iPhone lacks)
4) 10mm thick, which is slimmer than any Android smartphone I can think of (only iPhone 4 is better).
5) Physical keyboard (but I don't want it to slide out) - basically leaves you with a Blackberry as the only good alternative (but BBs are a lot thicker).

And finally, after I traded my old phone with Nokia, I got a $180 rebate from the company. This means the phone only cost me $148 -- without any contract.

I bet most of these other users in the Survey are paying $1000-1500 more to have a smarphone than I do every 3 years. Personally, that's a free Plasma TV, vacation, $ to spend at nice restaurants, $ you can spend on your kids, sports equipments, etc. every 3 years ...

RE: Both of them
By SunAngel on 9/24/2010 1:57:49 PM , Rating: 2
Everything you wrote is the reason your in last place. Change it up a bit and you'll like to improve.

RE: Both of them
By kmmatney on 9/24/2010 11:57:34 PM , Rating: 2
or just have your work pay for your smartphone - doesn't get any cheaper than that...I think that's the case for a lot of Blackberry and iPhone users...

For a phone without a data plan, the Nokia E72 looks OK, though.

RE: Both of them
By dani31 on 9/25/2010 3:39:22 AM , Rating: 1
When you're counting the positives your already lying to yourself. I've been doing that for the past year with a Nokia E52 but I'm done with Nokia now - for a long time I think.

P.S. I didn't mean Nokia buyers are fanboys, but the exact opposite.

RE: Both of them
By silverblue on 9/27/2010 7:04:09 AM , Rating: 2
4) 10mm thick, which is slimmer than any Android smartphone I can think of (only iPhone 4 is better).

The Samsung Galaxy S is 9.9mm. ;)

Watching the desperation
By Tony Swash on 9/24/2010 12:21:51 PM , Rating: 1
I will enjoy watching the desperate efforts that will now unfold here to interpret this Smartphone Customer Satisfaction Study as showing anything other than the inescapable fact that customer really like the iPhone more than any other brand.

I am sure that there will be much inventiveness deployed in spinning this result away, lets think of some of the ways this might be done:

a) The report is a lie. No evidence will be offered to support this just the assertion that this result cannot be true.

b) Apple's customers are idiotic followers of fashion mesmerised by Apple's voodoo marketing and the whims of fashion. This is a useful argument as it can be deployed on numerous occasions in response to any Apple success or evidence of the popularity of Apple or its products. Again no evidence will be offered to support this.

c) Android is catching up! A good distraction from the fact that Apple still came top.

I am sure that there will be more ways to spin away this result using techniques and arguments that I cannot at the moment predict (my imagination is sadly restricted by my continuing dependence on rationality) so I will post again as and when people move beyond the three non-sequiturs listed above.

By whickywhickyjim on 9/24/2010 12:57:30 PM , Rating: 3
And I will enjoy reading the comments of people who think that JD Power "studies" are independent research. For $50, they'll unveil their prestigious Tony Swash award for the highest ranked poster on all of DT.

RE: Watching the desperation
By SunAngel on 9/24/2010 2:02:22 PM , Rating: 2
"If you mod me down, I will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine." -- Apple

RE: Watching the desperation
By torpor on 9/24/2010 4:41:03 PM , Rating: 2
I can't remember anyone here ever saying Apple owners weren't pretty satisfied with fact, that's the chief criticism.

If I knew JD Power was looking at smartphones, I could have predicted this without thinking. Shrug.

RE: Watching the desperation
By Tony Swash on 9/24/2010 5:34:18 PM , Rating: 2
I am sure that there will be more ways to spin away this result using techniques and arguments that I cannot at the moment predict (my imagination is sadly restricted by my continuing dependence on rationality) so I will post again as and when people move beyond the three non-sequiturs listed above.

So a couple of additional ways people have come up with to spin away this survey of customer satisfaction.

a) Just ignore it: Hardly any comments around here as yet - if this had been an article highlighting any sort of critical content in relation to Apple the comments would be buzzing.

b) People are erroneously blaming ATT for the iPhone shortcomings. Again no evidence is offered of this hypothesis, believing in such a idea it depends on people having an innate belief that the alternative explanation - that people actually like iPhones more than any other handset - must be fallacious.

By whickywhickyjim on 9/24/2010 10:18:47 AM , Rating: 3
So what. Apple can buy rankings for the iphone just like Dodge did with the intrepid. Everyone knows that JD Power "studies" are merely corporate PR in the guise of independent polling.

By DarkPhoenix on 9/24/2010 9:59:26 AM , Rating: 2
Nokia can't get a break it seems, which raises the question of why would they NOT be adopting Android at this point ? They need something popular to lift them up, yet they are snubbing it for what I consider to be a very bad reason.

Management has no insight it seems...their "pride" will lead them to even rougher times I would say...

Only Apple...
By Calindar on 9/24/2010 7:06:54 PM , Rating: 2
Only Apple could get ranked highest in smart phone satisfaction with a phone that can't make phone calls...

Blame AT&T
By Mitch101 on 9/24/2010 9:27:38 AM , Rating: 1
Its most likely because they blame dropped calls on AT&T and not the device.

Death grip..=)
By Funky Santa Clause on 9/27/2010 1:28:46 PM , Rating: 1
Couple of facts for you U.S fanboys.!!

- There is a Nokia branded phone in the pockets of 1.6 Billion people! Thats almost a quarter of the planet! There has never

ever EVER been any brand even remotely as dominant globally, as Nokia is today

- Nokia is beating Apple and everyone else with old models, beware of the new ones..=)

- Nokia has lost most of its market share in the US market where Blackberry, the iPhone and various Android phones now are

popular. So by faulty leap of logic, many see that Nokia is somehow 'losing to iPhone' (or Android or Blackberry). In reality

that is a market anomaly that applies to North America only, where only 8% of the planet's mobile phones are sold.. Nokia

utterly dominates the rest of the world (with the exception of those countries where strong domestic rivals control that

country, South Korea, Japan and yes, the USA).


And I should mention the App Stores. While all the silly hype globally in mobile is about apps - I have been repeating and

repeating and repeating, that it is a trivial - trivial - sized non-business (today). It may - it may - become meaningful

somewhere years down the line. We heard from Apple - the leader in app stores - earlier this year, that the total earned by the

Apple iPhone App Store last year was under a billion dollars. A billion out of what, over 200,000 actual apps that exist in the

App Store?

A billion may seem like a "big number" to those who don't understand mobile, but hey, Crazy Frog the ringing tone - yes just

one - one - ringing tone - sold half a billion dollars - in paid downloads to mobile phone users - in one year - three years

before Apple even opened up its app store. Put that into your iPhone app and think again.

"It seems as though my state-funded math degree has failed me. Let the lashings commence." -- DailyTech Editor-in-Chief Kristopher Kubicki
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