Switching fixed line, fixed broadband, and TV provider

By Jeremiah Fryer
Research Problem

Ofcom is responsible for ensuring the competitiveness of markets in the communications sector and therefore wished to understand the difficulties consumers currently experience when they switch or consider switching, one or more triple play services (landline, fixed broadband and pay TV) between the Openreach, KCOM, Virgin cable and Sky satellite platforms.

Approach

The research was undertaken as a two-stage approach, with the qualitative phase helping to inform the scope of the quantitative survey by identifying difficulties being experienced when switching and by refining the terminology to be used in the quantitative phase.

The qualitative element included a total of eight mini-groups and fourteen in-home interviews. These interviews took the form of a one-on-one interview with the main decision maker (or decision makers if this was shared), followed by a shorter group session with all household members.

The quantitative phase included c.4,000 interviews on a face-to-face omnibus to establish the incidences of consumers who had switched or considered switching one or more triple play services. A separate online survey was conducted via an online panel, to understand in detail the experiences of these groups. Online research provided an effective and efficient means to reach some of the very low incidence groups Ofcom wished to consult.

Outcomes

The research helped Ofcom understand the experience of switching and considering switching in these markets. The results have been published as part its consultation and have been used, alongside evidence from complaints and stakeholders, in Ofcom’s provisional assessment of options for reform to reduce the difficulties and deterrents, making switching easier and more reliable for consumers.