The impact of Mobile Number Portability on customer switching behaviour in the South African mobile telecommunications industry

Ayo-Oladejo, Rachael Lola
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Previous studies examining a range of sectors within the service industry have confirmed the negative effect of customer switching behaviour on the profitability of a company. The increased demand for the ever-evolving products and services offered by mobile network providers has resulted in extensive switching behaviour among mobile phone customers. Switching between mobile phone operators, however, has a number of associated inconveniences for customers, especially in terms of losing their cellular numbers. Mobile Number Portability (MNP) is an added feature on telecommunications networks that allows network subscribers the freedom to retain their existing cellular numbers when they switch to a different network provider, and it has been proposed that MNP increases churn and switching activity within the mobile telecommunications sector. Mobile Number Portability was implemented in South Africa in November 2006. This study identifies the critical factors that influence a customer‟s decision to switch network providers within the South African mobile telecommunications industry, and assesses the impact that the implementation of Mobile Number Portability has had on customer switching behaviour. Data was collected first by means of a qualitative open-ended question interview with 5 individuals. Their responses were content analysed to extract the major themes that emerged from the interviews regarding their decision to switch and how the decision was impacted by MNP. A survey was then carried out to identify the factors that determine if a customer would switch network providers. A total of 594 people responded to the survey, out of which 182 had previously switched network providers. These 182 respondents formed the sample, and a Common Factor Analysis was carried out on their responses. The findings revealed 3 significant criteria that determine if a customer switches network providers – Network service quality and availability; Customer iii service experience, and Mobile Number Portability. The resulting conclusion of this study is that MNP has had an impact on customer switching behaviour.
MBA thesis - WBS
Mobile number portability, Network service quality, Mobile telecommunications