According to the results of a survey recently conducted by Cowen Equity Research, 32.2 percent of mobile users based in the United States use their smartphone devices for at least a couple of years. That percentage represents a significant increase compared to the 23.7 percent surveyed as recently as 2015. In conducting its survey, Cowen polled over 1,100 consumers in America for its newest quarterly report.
Analysts from Cowen were also quick to point out that the increase in the number of people that hold on to their devices for more than two years was particularly evident across all members of the Big Four carriers, except for one -- T-Mobile. This is likely because the Uncarrier has always had a good track record of stealing away subscribers from its rivals, especially the industry leaders Verizon Wireless and AT&T.
As explained by Colby Synesael of Cowen Equity Research, the growth in the number of mobile users holding on to their devices for more than two years continues to be driven by consumers that belong to the “Other” category, which includes subsidy or bring your own device subscribers, plus those previously signed up under an equipment installment plan (EIP) who have since managed to pay off their devices. As more and more users go for equipment installment options, the percentage of those using devices for over a couple of years will likely continue in the near future.
Industry watchers have always thought that the increase in device upgrade cycles is strongly connected with the reduction in customer turnover rate among the four major wireless carriers in the United States. Moreover, there is certainly some signs that equipment installment plans will continue to be popular. Close to 45 percent of those surveyed claim that they pay for their devices by way of an equipment installment option. That percentage has increased from the 41.7 percent logged during the two previous quarters. When it comes to selling equipment installment schemes to their respective customers, it appears that AT&T is quite good at it, with half of its subscribers currently paying in monthly installments. Not far behind is Verizon Wireless, with 44.2 percent of its customers paying via equipment installment plans.
Still, analysts at Cowen Equity Research have reason to believe that the rate of customer turnover may be rising soon. According to the results of its survey, it turns out that almost 12 percent of mobile users are planning to switch to another mobile operator soon.
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