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Shifting telecommunications habits in a fast-moving industry

With the increasing importance of telecommunications in our lives, The Globe sought insights into the television, mobile, internet, and home security services of our readers. The Globe Insiders panel surveyed represents a diverse cross-section of our readership, with a wide range of telecommunications preferences. In this article, we will explore the insights and findings shaping consumers’ telecommunications habits today.  

Diverse telecommunications interests 

Globe readers are interested in a wide range of telecommunications topics. From concerns about government regulation of the internet to the escalating costs of streaming services surpassing traditional cable expenses, the survey sheds light on the issues our readers are curious about. Readers expressed interest in exploring ways to alleviate the stranglehold of monopolies on Canadians, advocating for expanded Wi-Fi access nationwide, and seeking strategies to lower their mobile, TV, and streaming expenses. The demand for practical information was also underscored by the desire for price comparisons, reviews of providers, and consolidated analyses of rates and packages—a clear indication of our readers’ desire for informed decision-making.

The changing habits of Internet and TV service users 

Internet and TV services are integral to our readers’ home and vacation experience. Bell and Rogers lead the way in both categories, except for internet service at weekend or vacation homes, where Bell (31%) was the most popular service provider followed by ‘other’ (31%), which includes TekSavvy, Videotron, SaskTel, Virgin Plus, and Primus. All our readers maintain internet service at their primary residence, with a significant 85% also ensuring they’re connected at their weekend or vacation homes. 

In contrast, TV services show a slightly different pattern, with 86% of readers having TV service at their primary residence and only 62% extending TV service to weekend or vacation homes. 

Exploring the driving forces of readers who made changes to their services in the past 12 months, Globe Insiders revealed a wide range of motivations. Some signed up for limited-time offers (28%), while others switched to use a different provider (27%) or to add other features to a current service (26%). 

Video streaming in a crowded market 

In a world dominated by digital entertainment, the survey highlighted a prevailing trend, with 77% of Globe readers opting for at least one steaming service, showcasing a demand for diverse content options. Of those who subscribed, 42% had 2-3 streaming services, and 30% had 4-5. The most popular services were Netflix (84%), Amazon Prime Video (71%), and Crave (38%), followed by Apple TV (37%), CBC Gem (29%), Disney+ (26%), and Britbox (19%).

Despite the popularity of video streaming, 51% of Globe readers with a streaming service chose to cancel at least one service within the past 12 months. 74% plan on cancelling a service in the next 12 months, while 42% plan to add a service in the same period. Our readers constantly re-evaluate their options to ensure they are subscribed to the best service. 

Mobile service & 5G 

Nearly half of our readers get their mobile service from Rogers (26%) or Bell (23%), followed closely by Telus (19%). The majority (75%) are satisfied with their mobile service provider. Still, 62% of our readers said that price or better value were critical factors in weighing whether to change to another provider. 

While 70% of Globe readers responded that they had at least some familiarity with 5G, 18% weren’t sure if their mobile phone was a 5G device, and 31% do not have 5G. Despite this, 19% of Globe Insiders who made changes to their mobile service in the past 12 months had upgraded their device or service to 5G, showing a growing awareness of the importance of 5G to our readers. 

Home Security

Home security represents an untapped marketplace, with 7 in 10 Globe readers saying they do not have a home security service at their primary residence. Only 32% of readers have a home security service at their primary residence, and for those who own a weekend or vacation home, 25% say they have a home security service.  

Gaming 

Another underrepresented category was gaming. Only 13% of Globe Insiders have at least one video game console in their household. However, of those who do have a console, 23% have two or more. PlayStation and Xbox were the most popular, at 46% and 41%, respectively. 

Summary

Telecommunications is a vital aspect of people’s everyday lives, and what our readers look for in their providers varies widely. Consumers actively seek the best value, evaluating options based on price, range of choices, additional services, and keeping up with the latest technologies. In this fast-changing industry, consumers are notably more informed than ever before, necessitating that service providers stay ahead of their preferences and most crucial wants.

Source: Globe Insiders panel, Telecom Survey, October 2023 (n=1,398)

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