On Monday (today), the Malta Communications Authority (MCA) reported that since the pandemic, 65 per cent of households reported service provider disruptions, a surge of nine percentage points.
These figures were published as part of the results of MCA’s survey concerning the perception of bundle subscriptions in Malta.
The MCA has been carrying out the consumer perception survey since 2008. Its aim is to gather information on the level of consumer satisfaction with the products and services on offer and the extent to which service providers address the demands of their clients.
Given that these surveys have been carried out for several years, MCA explained that survey findings are indicative of developments in the needs of the end-user and how local service providers deal with changing preferences.
Among those who experienced disruptions, 82 per cent encountered technical problems specifically linked to their fixed internet service, while 25 per cent experienced issues with their Pay-TV service.
MCA has noted that there has been a “significant decline of 32 percentage points”in the satisfaction level among respondents with their service provider’s responsiveness in resolving these disruptions. This means that there was a drop to 54 per cent in 2023 from 86 per cent in 2020.
53 per cent of bundle users see money saving as their primary driver for their choice
Overall, the majority of participants (91 per cent) reported having a bundled subscription, a figure which has remained relatively unchanged since 2020.
The survey shows that the most popular reason behind bundle subscription take-up is to save money through promotional offers (53 per cent).
This was closely followed by the convenience of consolidating multiple services into a single bill (35 per cent). However, MCA noted that the appeal of receiving a unified bill has diminished by half since the 2020 survey.
Meanwhile, fixed internet and TV continue to play “pivotal roles” in driving the adoption of bundled services. Respondents also indicated that the mobile telephony segment is also becoming more popular in the bundle selection space.
Only nine per cent of households’ respondents stated that they purchase telecom services on a stand-alone basis.
On average, 37 per cent of the subscribers pay around €30 and €49.99 per month. On the other hand, 26 per cent indicate an average expenditure of between €50 to €69.99 for their bundle subscription. A small portion of the respondents (two per cent) pay between €10 and 19.99.
The majority view paying between €20 and €29.99 for a bundle subscription as a reasonable. Meanwhile, 87 per cent think the same about a subscription between €1 and €19.99.
Subscribers at the higher end of bundle price range are more inclined to find their subscription price rather expensive. 57 per cent and 55 per cent of the respondents paying a subscription of €70 or more and between €50 and €69.99 respectively, stating that their subscription fee is steep.
20 per cent decrease in satisfaction
MCA noted that there has been a notable change among respondents when it comes to satisfaction levels with bundle quality of service.
Currently, 69 per cent express satisfaction, down from the previous 89 per cent in 2020. This marks a 20 per cent decline in satisfaction.
However, the 2023 survey has also registered a rise in the share of respondents with a bundle subscription holding a ‘neutral’ perception of their bundle’s quality of service. This has increased from nine per cent in 2020 to the current 24 per cent.
“Interestingly, despite the decline in satisfaction levels corresponding with an increase in neutral perceptions, a significant majority of the respective household respondents show no intention to switch their bundle subscription to another service provider,” MCA said.
The survey shows that three-fourths of respondents who are not entirely satisfied with their bundle subscription still do not plan to switch to another service providers.
Primarily, this loyalty seems rooted in the perception that all service providers offer similar quality, which has increased by 42 percentage points from 17 per cent of respondents in 2020 to 59 per cent in 2023.
Additionally, 94 per cent of household respondents say that they have not switched or ported their bundle subscription in the last two year. Among the few who did switch, reasons included dissatisfaction with prior services or a desire to cut costs.
Despite so, if faced with a possible 10 per cent rise in the monthly bundle expenses, 29 per cent of household participants indicated that they would change to a different operator.
Following this, 27 per cent of would maintain their current bundle, while a quarter of respondents would choose a less expensive bundle within the same provider’s offerings.
Low awareness of early termination fees
83 per cent of the households surveyed were unaware of the cost associated with an early termination of the bundle contract, with 66 per cent of those who are aware of these fees perceiving them as expensive.
Regarding awareness of the right to receive a 30-day notice for contract termination in case an operator modifies the terms and conditions, 63 per cent of the respondents were aware of their entitlement to notification and the option to terminate the contract within 30 days.
This, however, marks a decline of 28 percentage points in the share of respondents’ awareness, from the 91 per cent recorded in 2020.
The survey was carried out by EMCS Advisory Ltd on behalf of the MCA via telephone interviews, with the number of randomly selected respondents totalling 806.
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