128 U.S. Million Mobile Subscribers Experience More Than Five Dropped Calls A Month, According to First Mobile Call Quality Survey from Rebtel

Press Release  •  May 03, 2012 15:22 EDT

Stockholm, Sweden & San Francisco, USA – May 3, 2012 – Rebtel, the world’s largest mobile VoIP company after Skype, today announced the results from a recent call-quality survey, which polled U.S. mobile users on their experiences with carriers, smartphone devices and communication apps.

According the study, there is plenty of room for improvement among operators and handset manufactures, with approximately 2 out of 5 (39%) mobile users surveyed admitting to having experienced more than 5 dropped calls per month, representative of approximately 128 million subscribers. The study also showed that having a clear call connection is very important to 89% of respondents, with 84% of those claiming they are at least somewhat likely to switch smartphones as a result of poor quality. 78% stated they would be likely to switch carriers due to poor network performance.

“The findings of our first call quality survey demonstrate mobile users have high expectations for a clear connection during calls, and with 40% of American mobile users experiencing multiple dropped calls each month, it’s clear that carriers and handset manufacturers have a long way to go to provide the level of service that customers demand and expect,” says Rebtel CEO Andreas Bernstrom.

The following includes a breakdown of the findings from the survey, with a few of the highlights below:

Men Stay Loyal to Voice vs. Women Would Rather Text

·       Men are 90% more likely (38% vs. 20%) to use a mobile VoIP app as an alternative to their carrier’s regular calling service.

·       Men have a 20% higher response to being very likely to switch smartphones as a result of poor call quality (33% vs. 27% respectively).

·       Women are 47% more likely than men (44% vs. 30%) to use a text messaging service as an alternative to their carrier’s regular calling service.

iPhone Users Rank Highest in Terms of Customer Loyalty, But Many Would be Willing to Switch Smartphones and Carriers

Among smartphone users, iPhone users ranked last in terms of their likelihood to switch carriers due to poor call quality (81.5%), followed by BlackBerry users (85.0%), then Android users (86.0%). iPhone users were also the least likely group to switch smartphones due to poor call quality, with approximately 30% stating they are not likely to switch as a result of call quality issues, followed by Android (18.7%), BlackBerry (17.5%).

Overall, here’s how responses were broken up between iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and U.S. average, when asked whether they are likely or not likely to switch carriers due to poor call quality: 

Not likely

iPhone = 18.5%

BlackBerry = 15.0%

Android = 14.0%

*U.S. Average = 15.1% (Representative of 49.5 million wireless subscribers)


Android = 86.0%

BlackBerry = 85.0%

Other = 83.3%

iPhone = 81.5%

*U.S. Average = 84.1% (Representative of 275.8 million wireless subscribers)

Here’s how responses were broken up between iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and U.S. average, when asked if they were likely or not likely to switch smartphones due to poor call quality:

Not likely

iPhone = 29.0%

Android = 18.7%

BlackBerry = 17.5%

*U.S. Average = 22.5% (Representative of 73.8 million wireless subscribers)


Android = 81.3%

BlackBerry = 82.5%

iPhone = 71.0%

*U.S. Average = 77.5% (Representative of 254.2 million wireless subscribers)

Exploring Alternatives to Carriers’ Services

When asked which types of mobile apps respondents were most likely to use as an alternative to their traditional carrier minutes or data plan service, 34% (112M Americans) said they would utilize a text messaging service and 32% (105M Americans) said they would use a mobile VoIP application. Social networking apps ranked third at 18% (59M Americans) followed by instant messaging apps, which garnered 16% (52M Americans) of responses.

Here’s how U.S. mobile users responses were broken up by gender, when asked what mobile apps they would use outside of their carrier data plan: 

Text messaging app:

Male = 30.6%

Female = 43.6%

U.S. Avg. = 34.1% (Representative of 111.8 million wireless subscribers)

Mobile VoIP app:

Male = 38.3%

Female = 19.6%

U.S. Avg. = 32.0% (Representative of 104.9 million wireless subscribers)

Social networking app:

Male = 17.0%

Female = 17.8%

U.S. Avg. = 17.6% (Representative of 57.7 million wireless subscribers)

Instant messaging app:

Male = 14.1%

Female = 19.2%

U.S. Avg. = 16.3% (Representative of 53.5 million wireless subscribers) 

Reasons that Having A Clear Call Quality is Important

Here’s a breakdown of the total responses as they pertain to the most relevant reason a clear connection is at least somewhat important.

·       I want to be able to hear my friends, family or significant other better – 46.9% (Representative of 154 million Americans)

·       I feel that I pay enough in monthly charges to expect to have a clear connection all the time – 42.4% (Representative of 139 million Americans)

·       I need to have a clear connection because work; it helps me to do my job better – 6.8% (Representative of 22 million Americans)

·       I need it in case of emergency, if I or someone else is in trouble – 3.9% (Representative of 13 million Americans)

Bernstrom continued: “Based on the high incidence of respondents who expressed a willingness to switch carriers and devices due to poor call quality, I believe we will continue to see smartphone users turning to alternative means of communication, like IP-messaging and mobile VoIP apps, which are designed to optimize their connections and help realize continued savings on their mobile phone bills.”

Rebtel’s call quality survey was conducted on March 6, 2012 using SurveyMonkey, an online survey service, which polled 992 U.S. mobile users. 

*Note: According to the trade organization CTIA, there were approximately 328 million wireless service subscribers in the U.S. in 2011. U.S. Averages are based on all mobile users, including non-smartphone owners. 

Eric Gonzalez
VSCpr on behalf of Rebtel

Rebtel Newsroom: http://www.rebtel.com/newsroom

About Rebtel
Rebtel is the world’s largest mobile VoIP company after Skype. Today, Rebtel is growing rapidly with more than 15 million callers and with a run rate of over 1 billion minutes per year. The company is on pace to hit $95 million in revenue run rate end of 2012. Rebtel users call through smartphone or desktop applications or any other phone to make free or cheap international calls. For more information, or to start using Rebtel, go to http://www.rebtel.com.

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