A new study released today has found that the price of broadband and WiFi services is less important to European consumers than factors such as network quality, coverage and access to innovative products.

The report, commissioned by Liberty Global, from consultants A.T. Kearney, looks at the value of home connectivity specifically from the perspective of consumers. It found that 38% of consumers value ‘collective’ benefits of their home broadband – defined as such things as coverage network quality and innovation – the most.


This is followed by ‘individual’ benefits – such as speed and bundle size – which were highlighted by 33% of respondents. Price, meanwhile, was ranked as the most important factor for just 16% of people, with flexibility cited by 13%.

A.T. Kearney surveyed 8000 people across eight European countries – the United Kingdom, Belgium, Switzerland, Poland, Ireland, France, Germany and the Netherlands – for the report entitled ‘Viewed through the Lens of the Consumer: Value Creation in the Telecommunications Sector.’

Manuel Kohnstamm, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer of Liberty Global, comments: “We’ve commissioned this research to shine a light on what consumers think is important about their broadband and WiFi services. In particular, the report’s key finding that price is lower down the list of priorities for consumers suggests that regulators would do well to find policies that successfully balance all prevailing factors valued by broadband users – including coverage, network quality and innovation – rather than narrowly focusing on the pricing of such services.”

Delving further into the link between price and investment in high-quality home broadband services, the report concludes that there is a positive relationship between price levels, investment and benefits delivered to society. It identifies a virtuous circle where positive revenue developments through price create headroom for investment, which in turn impacts on further revenue generation. This is supported by the fact that the top 10 EU countries in terms of relative price levels outperform the bottom 10 across all proxies for benefits to society – including online education, shopping, e-government services, cloud computing and big data analytics – used for the study.

In other findings, the study reveals that access to home broadband & WiFi scores either first, or is in joint first place, in six out of eight European countries surveyed when ranked against such things as holidays, chocolate, a favourite TV channel and even sex. In only two countries – Switzerland and Poland – did home broadband & WiFi access not make the top spot.

The report also looks more broadly at the value attached to broadband by consumers across the generations, finding that broadband & WiFi is considered especially valuable to the youngest generation of respondents (aged 18 – 29) who would, on average, require compensation of €32,500 (around £28,500) to forgo access for one year – four times what the amount required by those aged between 50 & 65.

Hans Boezel, Principal, Communications, Media & Technology Practice, AT Kearney, adds: “We fully appreciate that capturing the ‘real’ opinion of customers is always challenging. However, by focusing on understanding and appreciating the order of magnitude of various findings, this report already provides sufficient guidance for informed debate and decision-making around what is really of importance to a consumer. This not just in the limited time they are in a ‘purchasing mode’, but also when they are actually using the service itself, which they are most of the time.”


Read the full report here.

Read the blog by Manuel Kohnstamm, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer of Liberty Global, here.