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SAN FRANCISCO – WUA recently ran a comprehensive market customer experience benchmark to understand how US consumers research and select a Sim-only or BYOD wireless plan. The market for SIM-only plans is blooming within the telecom industry, with more and more consumers abandoning traditional mobile phone contracts in favor of Sim-only plans that offer increased flexibility.

VerizonWireless.com was most found and most preferred, but ranked fifth in terms of converting web traffic.

Aim of this study

The aim of the study is to precisely identify the digital experience of consumers when they search for a Sim-only plan. Who do they choose to buy from, and mainly: Why? Using a proven model WUA has worked on over the past eight years, we map out what it is exactly that consumers want, what the best practices are, and what the areas for improvement are. The websites of these companies were assessed by consumers in the study:

AT&T Amazon
Boost Mobile Cricket Wireless
Google H2O
MetroPCS NET10
Sprint StraightTalk
T-Mobile TPO Mobile
 US Cellular  Verizon Wireless
 Walmart  Whistle Out

All websites listed have analytics and insights in the update report. Not all websites were assessed by a statistically significant proportion of the respondents and thus could not be included in the ranking.

The Task

The 300 consumers in our survey were instructed to “go online and search for different wireless plans to find options that best suit your needs. Imagine that your current phone still suits your needs”. Starting from a blank web page, each respondent searched for a Sim-only plan via their smartphone.

>>> Interested in the full research set up? Read more here.

The Results

The last time WUA conducted a study into the US telecom industry, VerizonWireless.com emerged as the winner. This time would be no different asVerizonWireless.com edged out the competition for providing the best overall customer experience when it comes to searching and selecting a Sim-only plan or BYOD wireless plan. Still, while Verizon may have finished with the highest digital sales score overall, other websites ranked higher for other facets in the search for a suitable Sim-only plan. Below the complete Digital Sales Score rankings you will find our additional insights.

  • Digital Sales Score
    Study: Sim Only
    Measurement: March 2018
    Country: United States
  • Mobile
  • 1 VerizonWireless.com 66
  • 2 ATT.com 62
  • 3 T-Mobile.com 61
  • 4 Amazon.com 59
  • 5 StraightTalk.com 56
  • 6 Sprint.com 55
  • 7 BestBuy.com 53
  • 8 Google.com 52
  • 9 Cricketwireless.com 50
  • 10 Walmart.com 49
  • See full list

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Digital Excellence: Who gets the highest preference?

Overall, VerizonWireless.com is the number 1 choice for 14% of respondents, followed by ATT.com (13%). This shows that the market for Sim-only plans is certainly not dominated by one provider. 15% of respondents also selected VerizonWireless.com as their second choice, meaning there’s much room for growth. Out of the big four wireless providers in the US, Sprint.com finished last—only 6% selected the carrier as their first choice.

>>> Find the full results, insights, and ranking in our free insight report.

Some of the quantitative findings of our study

The March 2018 Digital Sales Scan provides a snapshot of digital excellence in the US market for Sim-only plans. Let’s take a look at some of the findings:

– Verizon’s big advantage comes as a result of their high rate of findability, with 44% of respondents coming across VerizonWireless.com during their search. T-Mobile.com and ATT.com were discovered by 37% and 33% of respondents respectively. Sprint.com was only found by 23% of respondents.

– Forming first impressions are key, and none of the big wireless carriers finished first in this category. This honor belongs to Amazon.com, who received a score of 87 for the look & feel of their site. That’s a full four points higher than the average. Google’s Project FI homepage also gave a favorable first impression, finishing second in this category with a score of 86.

– After forming a first impression, respondents can decide to continue onward with the website they’re on or elect to search for a different website. Nearly half the respondents (40%) who found VerizonWireless.com continued on the site. That’s significantly higher than Sprint.com, where respondents only continued 20% of the time.

– Reeling in customers takes more than just a good-looking website. It also takes a good product offer. For this category, Amazon.com and BestBuy.com took joint first place with a score 87, a full 3 points above the average. Respondents were especially pleased with the range of sim cards BestBuy.com offered, which don’t differ in price.

– VerizonWireless.com may have finished first in preference, but they only finished fifth in terms of conversion (33%). This metric is measured by the number of respondents who select a website as their first choice divided by the number of respondents that found that same website. Amazon had the highest rate of conversion (51%), followed by ATT.com (40%) and BestBuy.com (40%).

From the findings above, we can see that the major wireless carriers in the US can learn a thing or two from the outsider companies that offer Sim-only plans. This holds especially true for the category order process, the last step before customers actually purchase a Sim-only plan. BestBuy.com received an astounding score of 93 for order process, finishing 9 points above the average. Notably, not one of the four major wireless carriers in the US finished in the top four for this category. In fact, ATT.com and Sprint.com finished well below average for this category.

Market performance over time and multi-country studies

WUA also carries out repeat measurements that offer valuable market insights over time. This enables you to track how your position within your market is changing, and the impact of any changes you have implemented since the previous measurement.

Full Insight Report: Sim Only Wireless Plan, March 2018

The full Insight Update report for this study on Sim Only Wireless plan is free to download. It gives further insights, and the top-level scores from this study.

  • Know where you stand on consumer-expectations and experience relative to others in the market

  • Know your major improvements and highest priorities for conversion optimization

  • Learn from best practices within and outside your industry and learn from the best