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What you value most in cellular services

Apr 28, 20043 mins
Cellular NetworksNetwork Security

* Readers rank cellular service characteristics

Thanks to all who responded to the informal cellular survey that I conducted late last month.

We can draw some basic conclusions from your responses, given the consistency of your answers. Note, though, that these are not statistically valid, because the sample size was small (I received 17 responses). So please consider the following observations for their anecdotal worth only.

Clearly, the cellular service characteristic that respondents value most is network coverage. About 60% of you indicated that your No. 1 priority is the ability to wander anywhere without worrying about being in range. Another 12% of you ranked this factor as your No. 2 priority.

These findings were in response to the March 31 newsletter, in which I asked you to rank the following in order of importance:

1) Service price.

2) Coverage.

3) Speed of network service.

4) Quality of network service.

5) Availability of client devices to support both voice and data.

6) Other (please specify).

Next to coverage, service quality was most important; 65% of you indicated this factor as either your No. 1 or No. 2 priority.

What do you care about the least? About 76% ranked the availability of combination voice/data client devices as least important.

Interestingly, none of you rated network speed as highest or even second highest among your priorities. In fact, 65% of you ranked it dead last or second to last.

The fact that coverage and quality seem most important and dual-mode voice/data devices seem least important might mean that respondents use network services primarily for mobile voice calls. This would account for most of you caring more that the service works virtually anywhere – and works well – than about speed and combination voice/data devices.

One respondent added “international GSM roaming” to his wish list. Note that AT&T Wireless made an announcement earlier this month that, while it doesn’t address the international factor, it does address coverage and price for GSM voice service in the U.S.

AT&T Wireless says it has doubled its national GSM coverage during the past year by adding or improving 15,000 cell sites. GSM is the circuit-switched, digital network technology that AT&T uses for voice calls. The just-launched AT&T Wireless GSM America service eliminates dreaded roaming charges. This should take a bite out of voice phone bills for many mobile customers.

 “Customer service” came up most often as a write-in criterion, though most readers who added it ranked it as priority No. 3. Perhaps they figure if “quality of network service” is high, they’ll be less in need of their carrier’s customer service department.