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Telecommunications is one of the fastest growing business sectors of modern Information technologies and one of the services is fixed line and mobile communication. Competition has been gradually increasing in the field of communication. Many companies such as TalkTalk, Sky Talk, Tiscali, ASDA Mobile, Tesco Mobile, LycaMobile, Lebara Mobile, 3, T-mobile, Orange including others came into existence in the UK's market. Furthermore, companies like BT, O2, Vodafone and Virgin media are also available in the market and popular as well. So, the competition between these companies has become very intensive. As a result, these operators offer great deals and packages at low-cost and provide services like mobile telephone, television channels, Internet, landline (telephone) by means of cable, ADSL (modem), Satellite and new mobile products that supports their services. In addition, attention is paid in the security aspects and costs of services. In the present telecommunications environment, it has become complicated to choose a specific telecom company. Whereas compared to the past, it was very easy since we had only one local telephone network operator to choose for.
The consumer's choice of selecting a company depends on offer schemes and packages along with outstanding service. Using this strategy, a company could easily attract the customers towards them. So, companies are trying to offer excellent package and provide great services, in order to attract the customer's.
The objective of this project is to find out the most popular, highly rated (top) and best company providing remarkable package and service. Therefore, a survey is carried out which helps in achieving some findings and results, by distributing a questionnaire among the students of Queen Mary, University of London. Queen Mary, University of London is one of London and the UK's leading research-focused higher education institutions and one of the three largest of the colleges of the University of London. In addition, Queen Mary's 3,000 staff delivers world-class degree programmes and research across a wide range of subjects in Humanities, Social Sciences and Laws; in Medicine and Dentistry; and in Science and Engineering. The survey helps in achieving some findings and results.
In general, the questionnaire is made of 13 multiple choice questions and distributed among 20 students of Queen Mary University of London, of which 10 International students taken in one group and 10 local students in the second group.
The Information collected will be expressed in two tables, by using public share of a company in the market. Consequently comments from the students/public are proved to be a little worthy.
At last, I would contemplate the main factors that affect the customer's behaviour, choice and decision in choosing a company from a list of companies. Besides this, the project's actual goal, which is to find out the top and best telecommunication company providing excellent package and service could be achieved by analysing the whole scenario from chapters 1 to 5.
Chapter 1: Introduction
Telecommunication encompasses the electrical communication in the form of voice, data and image information. Since communication has been an important part in our life, telecommunication has become one of the world's most Lucrative Industry. As a result, many telecom companies came into existence and the competition between these companies became extreme. So, many companies are trying offer the best package in order to attract majority of the customers and hold the top position in the market besides overcoming other companies.
In the field of telecommunications, there are three types of service providers/operators providing their telecom services. They are:
1. Fixed Line operators: In UK, companies like British telecom (BT), Cable and Wireless (CW), Kingston communications (KCOM), TalkTalk, Virgin Media are popular among the fixed line operators.
2. Mobile Virtual Network operators: The popular companies in this group are ASDA Mobile, BT mobile, Tesco Mobile, Vectone Mobile, LycaMobile, Lebara Mobile and TalkTalk mobile are virtual Network operators.
3. Mobile Operators: This includes well-known companies such as 3G, O2, Vodafone, T-Mobile and Orange, available in the UK which is providing mobile network services to the public.
o O2 (Telefonica Europe plc):
O2 is a European Telecommunication company which provides mobile communication and fixed line products as well as services. For style brand it was named O2 (typeset as O2). O2-UK was formed in 2001 after the demerging from BT where BT Cellnet became O2-UK, a subsidiary of mmO2 plc. In March 2005 the company name was changed to O2 plc. On January 23, 2006 O2 group was acquired by Telefonica of Spain, with a cash purchase follow of £17.7 billion and changed its name to Telefonica O2 Europe plc.
Consequently in 2006 O2-UK obtained a UK based DSL Broadband startup called Be-unlimited. In October 2007, O2 launched their own broadband service, offering discounts for O2 mobile phone customers. In June 2008, the company was renamedTelefonica Europe plc. The company has its group headquarters inSlough, UK. By 31 March 2009 the company had 46.7 million customers in the UK, Germany, Ireland, Czech Republic, and Slovakia. In December 2009 Telefonica announced an agreement to acquire IP voice communications companyJajahwith a budget of 145 million http://o2.com/media/press_releases/latest_pr_14529.asp
Awards and Recognitions: O2 has been awarded many times in its history. Recently on 08 January 2010, it took the gold at the Think Broadband awards. Also it has won O2 Money wins two at The Card Awards which was set up to recognise customer service, excellence and innovation in the UK.
O2 has achieved plenty of awards such as Recognised for Excellence by the European Foundation for Quality Management in 2006.In addition, O2 has been awarded by large group of awarding bodies, whom the details are available in the below citation: http://broadband.o2.co.uk/home/awards.jsp?cm_sp=Broadband-_-HomeBroadband-_-Awards
One of the world's oldest communications company, with a direct line of descent from the first commercial telecommunications. In its early period, the UK telephone service from 1878 was provided by private sector companies such as the National Telephone Company (NTC), with the General Post Office (GPO). In 1896, the GPO took over the NTC trunk telephone service. In 1912, it became the monopoly supplier of the telephone service when the GPO took over the whole private sector telephone service in the UK.
In 1977, the Carter Committee Report recommended a further separation of the two main services and for their relocation under two individual corporations. The findings contained in the report led to the renaming of Post Office Telecommunications as British Telecom in 1980, although it remained part of the Post Office. The British Telecommunications Act, 1981 transferred responsibility for telecommunications services from the Post Office, creating two separate corporations.
On 19 July 1982, the Government formally announced its intention to privatise British Telecom with the sale of up to 51 per cent of the company's shares to private investors. This intention was confirmed by the passing of the Telecommunications Act, 1984, which received Royal Assent on 12 April that year.On 2 April 1991, the company unveiled a new trading name, BT, a new corporate identity and a new organisational structure.
BT's position as a leading provider of communications solutions across the globe was enhanced by a number of important acquisitions in the year 2005. These included Infonet- now BT Infonet- one of the world's leading providers of global managed voice and data network services for corporate customers.
Vodafone was formed in 1984 as a subsidiary of Racal electronics plc, which is now considered one of the best telecommunications company in the world with a significant presence in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and the United States. It was fully demerged from Racal Electronics Plc and became an independent company in September 1991, and changed its name to Vodafone Group Plc. According to 31 December 2009, based on the registered customers of mobile telecommunications ventures, the Group had 333 million customers, excluding paging customers. The Company had a total market capitalisation of approximately £71.2 billion as per 12 November 2009.
Awards and Recognitions: Vodafone named UK's most valuable brand and ranks as the seventh most valuable brand in the worldwith a brand value of $29bn. (As on 17 Jan 2010).
Virgin Media Inc:
Virgin media was formerly NTL Telewest till 1984-2006, after a merger ofNTL IncorporatedwithTelewest Global, Inc. In 2006 the first "quadruple-play" media company in the United Kingdom, bringing together services oftelevision, internet, mobile phone and fixed linetelephone. As it is the only major cable company in the United Kingdom, competing in the market with the features such as Free view (thefree-to-airterrestrial service), Satellite based British sky broadcasting and pay-TV operator which has currently more channels than any other provider in the UK. Its headquarters is located in the US; Virgin Media operates in the United Kingdom, with local headquarters inHook, Hampshireand its financial base inBradford. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telewest
Virgin Broadband currentlyranks as UK's third-largest broadband supplier. It has 3.6 Million customers, which would translate as a 35% market share across the UK;
Research aims and Rationale
The Aim of this research is to find out the most popular company for service and also offering the most attractive package for customers. In this research project, questionnaires will be used in order to find out some results from the students in Queen Mary University.
The Rationale of this project is to survey about the mobile operators which are providing fixed line, Internet, broadband and mobile phone services and finding out the top four companies who are offering great package and service benefits to the consumers at an affordable price.
The comparison method used in this project between the top four leading operators is helpful in making a conclusion about the best telecom company, which is offering great package and services to the customers.
So, the survey was carried out among 20 students of Queen Mary University, of which 10 students were international and 10 were local.
The Findings and results of this project may contain many important factors which can help people to choose the best mobile company.
Out of the project:
There are five parts in the project. Regarding First part, it is the Introduction, which we've just read it.
Second part illustrates the review of the literature in which it will focus on the most popular communication company in UK and the important factors that effect's customer's choice, behavior and decision.
Research methods and procedures are explained in the third part. Findings and Results are covered in the fourth part. Finally, Last part will be the conclusion and it also contains some recommendations.
Chapter 2: Literature Review
From the couple of decades, telephone, internet and cell phone has probably become the dominant source of communication and transforming the information in many countries probably within a concise time. For example, packet-switched 2G and 3G cellular systems and technology. (Introduction to telecommunications network engineering, by Tarmo Antallainen).
So, literature review focuses the study of consumer preferences for many communication companies. In addition it also defines the main factors that affect the consumer behavior, choice and decision such as products, packages, services and prices.
o Consumer's behavior: It shows how consumers allocate their incomes across products. Their decisions determine the demands for various goods and services. To be precise there are three different areas which describe the behavior of consumer. They are
ü Consumer preferences
ü Budget constraints
ü Consumer choice
o Consumer preferences: To explain the theory of consumer behavior, firstly we have to know what the consumer prefererences are. In other words, consumer behavior can be explained in three basic assumptions about preference for one telecom operator compared with the other. The three basic assumptions are listed as follows:
* Complements: Preferences are assumed to be complete. Thus, consumer could choose O2, BT, Virgin Media or Vodafone operator.
* Transitivity: Preferences are transitive. It means that if a consumer prefers BT operator to O2 and operator O2 to Vodafone and then the consumer can also prefer O2 to Virgin Media operator.
* More is better than less: Good Products and packages with best price deals and services are assumed to be desirable. Consequently, consumers always prefer more of any Service than less (more is always better even though it's just a little better)
o Budget constraints: A budget constraint can be defined as the commitment what the consumer faces as a result of limited incomes.
o Consumer Choice: The consumer's choice is a rational way which help them choose products to maximize the satisfaction they can achieve, given the limited budget available to them
Ø Investment appraisal
Manager's decision is the key for investment appraisal about where, when and how to spend money on their firms or projects. Since there is no certain knowledge of the size of future benefit, such decisions are important ones for the companies involved.
The first purpose of this research is to provide an overall view of mobile operators to the Queen Mary University students and dispute sample to 20 students containing 10 International and 10 local to study their reviews which help in finding the best mobile operator with excellent service and great price deals.
Ø Consumer's decision making:
Telecommunications is one of the fastest growing business sectors of modern
Information technologies. As competition for the mobile communication is gradually increasing, formation of many companies took place in the market.
Currently, many operators offer us ADSL or cable modem for Internet access and we have many options for telephone service as well. Special attention has to be paid to the security aspects and costs of services. The present telecommunications environment, in which each of us has to make choices, has become complicated. In the past, there was only one local telephone network operator that we chose to use or not use.
Ø Package Influence on Consumer's choice:
There are many factors that affect the consumer choice of package offered to the customers such as more Television channels, unlimited internet, unlimited calls or more talk time, lowest (local and international) call charges, free texts.
Most of the customers desire to have a complete package which is low cost effective. Additionally, the product quality and speed offered by a company also has an impact on the consumer choice in selecting a specific company. So the customer's try to select a company which provides a number of desired services in a package at a less price.
Chapter 3: Research Methods and Procedures:
3.1 Research aim:
This aim of this project is to investigate the telecommunication companies selected by the students of Queen Mary University and find out the most popular company providing remarkable package and service with the addition of other factors which has a direct impact on the consumer's choice.
The research is carried out to discover the reasons/factors that affect consumer's behavior, choice and decision will differ while choosing a specific telecommunication company in UK.
3.2 Research methods and processes
The method that has been adapted in this research is through the distribution of questionnaires between the international and local students of Queen Mary University.
This particular method was selected because of the nature of the topics given and its aims. On the other hand data collection processes would be flexible and convenient for the purpose of research analysis.
Moreover the process used internet and books references, in the collection of data which is one of the accurate and easy ways of approach in gathering the information required for the project.
Above methods and procedures will help in exposure of research aim and goal. Another reason to follow the above method and procedure ensure that the amount of information is sufficient and effective way to analyze the research project. Also the data reviewed from the questionnaire is very useful in project conclusion.
3.3 Sampling Plan
According to the research objectives and goals, a survey is conducted by preparing a questionnaire that contains 14 questions. In this survey, the sample will be dispersed into two groups whom the international students will be placed in one group and the local students in the second group in order to compare the different cultures and background students do play a role in influencing their behaviour, choice and decision when selecting a mobile operator.
So, this research will survey 20 students in total with 10 international and the other 10 containing Local. All the reviewers will be chosen randomly.
3.4 Questionnaire design:
Telecommunications is one of the fastest growing business sectors of modern
Information technologies. As competition for the mobile communication is gradually increasing, formation of many companies took place in the market. The present telecommunications environment, in which each of us has to make choices, has become complicated.
To overcome the above problem, the research is carried out in a couple of surveys. One of the main survey was done in the Queen Mary University among the students, through a series of questions which is generally known as questionnaire and the other survey from the market study of the local public giving high preference to one of the telecom company (via internet ).
The questionnaire is designed based on the aims and theories of consumer's behaviour, choice and decision by exploring the main factors that has an impact on a UK based Telecommunication Company at present. It consists of 13 multiple choices, plus a provision for any additional reviews/comments. Consequently, in the questionnaire some important common factors like package, price, quality, and network service are covered. Besides the students (respondents) can also add some alternative options to make the questionnaire more comprehensive.
The first question is about the number of telecommunication services in use by most of the consumers. Following to it, is the key question about the best mobile company in the UK preferred by most of the customers, as it helps in achieving the project goal which was to find out the best telecom Company in terms of broadband and mobile broadband deals and services.
Regarding the featured benefits in price, speed, download, upload, Wi-Fi service, network coverage of the mobile operator, Questions 3 and 4 were designed. Whereas question 5, 6 and 7 were put forward to know about consumer's preference of fixed line Broadband service provider in terms of the affecting factors such as customer service, promotion and price along with the quantity and quality of data provided.
In order to know the use of telecommunication services whether it is regarding personal or business purpose, Question 8 was designed in the questionnaire. Question 9 concerned the monthly budget for maintenance of wireless telecommunication regarding Mobile phone, Mobile broadband, Pager, etc. Question 10 was put in front of the students to investigate majority of the age group people who use most of the telecom services.
Consequently, in order to find out the customer service ratings, satisfaction with speeds and reliability of mobile operators, question 12 was generated.
§ Course Questionnaire:
Please, answer the following questions mentioned below:
1.How many telecommunication services are you using?
More than 1
Please Specify here
2. Which Mobile operator do you prefer the best in terms of mobile services in UK?
3.Are you satisfied by the speed (Browsing, Download and Upload) provided by the selected operator?
4. If asked about the network coverage how many stars you would rate for the above company
5.Who do you think is the excellent fixed line Broadband service provider in the UK? (You can choose more than 1 also)
6. What is the most important factor(s) you considered when you choose a wireless telecommunication service provider?
e.g. You can choose more than 1
Location of Dealer
7. Does the quantity and quality of information Provided by the operator is enough?
8.What is the purpose of your wireless telecommunication service is?
9.How much you spend/ (or) expected on wireless telecommunication per month? (Such as Mobile phone, landline, internet, broadband etc.)
10. What is your age?
11. How do you rate the performance of Customer Service for the company you have chosen?
12. What is the Level for reliability and speed satisfaction of your selected network?
Write down here: __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Ø Chapter 4: Results and Findings:
As discussed earlier in chapter 3, this research carried out a survey by the means of questionnaire distribution between the students of Queen Mary University, of which 10 students are local and 10 are international, in order to discover the common factors pertaining to the consumer's behavior, choice, and decision has an impact on the UK's telecommunication companies. Furthermore taking the questionnaire as a main source, it was found that the most popular, highest rated and the best telecommunication company is O2 for broadband service and Virgin Media for mobile broadband service because these operators are providing an excellent package and services to the consumer's, when compared to BT, Vodafone, Orange and Sky.
4.2 Data Analysis:
In this Section, analysis of data is done with the help of data collected from the questionnaire (chapter 3) so that findings and results could be extracted easily. `
From Questions 3 and 4 in the questionnaire, many students answered Virgin Media as the Best Mobile broadband service provider and as per the general survey; majority of the consumer's rated for Virgin Media to be the best.
Question 5, 6 and 7 revealed that, O2 is the leading broadband operator compared to Virgin Media, Vodafone and BT. In addition, majority of the general consumer's choice is also O2 compared to Virgin Media, BT and Vodafone according to general survey.
To know the use of telecommunication services whether it is regarding personal or business purpose, question 8 was designed and the students answered that they use for personal use.
Question 9 was taken into consideration in questionnaire to know about the budget constraints that affect the students willing to purchase the product of their choice. As a result of this, it was found that the money they spend is under £50. So, O2 was bought by many of consumer's for its best broadband and Mobile broadband deal offer (monthly price) shown by reference below respectively.
The result found for question 10 was 19-24 age group consumers.
Consequently, to find out the customer service ratings, satisfaction with speeds and reliability of mobile operators, question 12 was generated. It was successful from the questionnaire, that many of the students were reliable, satisfied with speed and customer service using O2. In addition, majority of the general customer's in the market recommend O2 and it is rated 92.3%, 79.7% and 79.7% for technical support, customer service and satisfaction with speeds respectively.
Finally, the result is made clear that O2 is the top and excellent broadband operator and Virgin Media is the top and best Mobile broadband operator as these are the only companies mostly preferred by majority of the consumer's.
Broadband Service ratings
User survey (road test) Sept 2009
Visit O2 web site
Virgin Media logo
Sky Broadband logo
Satisfaction with speeds
Table 1: Broadband service providers' comparison using road test survey.
Mobile/Broadband Service ratings
Mobile operators (road test) May 2009
Visit O2 web site
Virgin Media logo
Visit Vodafone web site
Visit 3 web site
Ø Chapter 5: Conclusion
The findings and results accomplished by the data analysis and research conducted through survey by the means of a questionnaire distributed among 20 students of Queen Mary University consisting of 10 international students and 10 local students.
Along with the general survey, questionnaire is taken as a main source for finding the result and it was found that the most popular, highest rated and the best telecommunication company is O2 for broadband service and Virgin Media for mobile broadband service because these operators are providing an excellent package and services to the consumer's, when compared to BT, Vodafone, Orange and Sky.
In the mean time similar and different consumer preferences between International and UK (local) students have been discovered by comparing the questionnaire. This conclusion represents the summary of the findings and results, limitations of the research with some recommendations for further research.
5.1 Summary of the Findings and Results:
The top Broadband service provider found was O2 with an overall rating of 4.5 Stars. It has been rated due to its high percentage in strong technical support, maximum overall satisfaction, great customer service and tremendous speed satisfaction compared to Virgin Media, BT and Sky.
Furthermore, in the case of Mobile Broadband Service- Virgin media is the winner with an overall rating of 5 stars due to its high speed of download, nearly full coverage and superb dongle software which are the very important and beneficial to the customer's. Whereas Vodafone has achieved 4 stars in overall ratings even though it has top service in uploads and coverage. Since it is behind in download speed and dongle software compared to Virgin Media, it has fallen to second place. As download speed is the top requirement for the majority of the consumer's, O2 is holding the 3rd place as it is more backward in providing download speed compared to Virgin Media and Vodafone.
The findings and results (Chapter 4) confirm the hypothesis of the research project that the top and excellent broadband company is O2, for its strong technical support, great customer service, highest overall satisfaction, speed satisfaction. On the other hand, Virgin Media being the top and best mobile broadband operator for its excellent download speed and dongle software along with wonderful coverage, feel good factor and are highly recommended by majority of the consumer's as well as the students selected in the research survey held at Queen Mary University.
5.2 Limitations of the Research
There are two main limitations that have been revealed from this research project: Sample size and the limited analysis.
Considering the lacking of time, the sample size was small with only 20 students investigated; hence the results from this group may not be applicable to all the students of Queen Mary University. In order to make the survey more valid and confirm the results, samples should be distributed to a larger number of students.
In addition, the analysis is not sufficient to draw a final conclusion because the survey was carried out between a limited number of students. Such problems could be solved once the sample size is widened. Furthermore, the user survey was done in the year 2009, whose road test results may vary, if a latest use survey is carried out in 2010.
5.3 Further studies (Recommendations)
In this research, some aspects regarding the theory of consumer behaviour and choice have been taken into account with the help of questionnaire and user survey of market share. However the questions that are designed in the questionnaire may be less because questionnaire is not enough to completely understand the consumer behaviour, choice and decision about the top and best telecommunication company. In order to achieve this more books and websites are to be referred. Added to this, a detailed long-term user survey must be carried out which helps in finding the exact results.
5.4 End Note:
The following important points were covered in the research: A survey was carried out among 20 students of Queen Mary University, of which 10 were international students and 10 local students. To achieve a goal in finding the most popular, highly rated and best telecommunication company providing excellent service, products and packages (including of price and promotion).
Overall, the project was successful and useful in providing information required to many students and consumers who were not aware of the top level companies such as O2 and Virgin Media offering great deals on new products, attractive package and delivering excellent service.
Consumer Behaviour and Marketing Strategy by J. Paul Peter and Olson.
Investment appraisal methods and models by Uwe Gotze, Deryl Northcott, and Peter Schuster.
Introduction to telecommunications network engineering by Tarmo Antallainen.
Appendix - Abbreviations, Acronyms and Glossary of Terms,:
O2- It is a European Telecommunication company which provides mobile communication and fixed line products as well as services. For style brand it was named O2 (typeset as O2)
BT: One of the world's oldest communications company, named as British Telecom in 1980 and part of Post Office Telecommunications.
2G: is abbreviated for second-generation, wireless telephone technology. Second generation or 2G cellular telecom networks were commercially launched on the GSM standard in 1991 in Finland.
3G: International Mobile Telecommunications- 2000 (IMT-2000), popularly known as 3G or 3rd Generation, is a family of standards for mobile telecommunications defined by the International Telecommunication Union.
NTL: Telewest and NTL Internet, known since February 2007 as Virgin Media, a company involved in television, Internet, mobile phone, and fixed-line telephone services, especially in the United Kingdom, and owner of domain ntl.com
GPO: The General Post Office was officially established in England in 1660 by Charles II and it eventually grew to continue the functions of both the state postal system and telecommunications carrier.
ADSL: Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Lineis one form of thedigital subscriber linetechnology, a data communications technology that enables faster data transmission over copper telephone linesthan a conventional voice-band modem can provide. This is possible by utilizing frequencies that are not used by a voicetelephone call. A splitter - or microfilter- allows a single telephone connection to be used for both ADSL service and voice calls at the same time.
Wi-Fi: It is an abbreviated name for Wireless Fidelity is atrademarkof theWi-Fi Alliancethat may be used with certified products that belong to a class ofwireless local area network(WLAN) devices based on theIEEE 802.11standards.