Security, not cost, is number-one consideration for changing network provider: survey

Security, not cost, is number-one consideration for changing network provider: survey

The independent blind survey of 1,076 UK adult smartphone users and bill payers, carried out for Crossbeam by Opinion Matters, discovered that three in four respondents (75.6%) of all respondents would drop their current provider if their operator-supplied smartphone was compromised by hackers, malware or other security failure.

What makes the findings interesting is that mobile operators appear to be focused on achieving faster connection speeds, and better data plans in a bid to woo new customers and keep existing clients loyal.

"Smartphone users, like most people, don't think about the security of their devices until they've been hacked. This may be misleading mobile network operators to focus less of their attention on customer security and underestimate the risk it creates," said Peter Doggart, senior director of global marketing at Crossbeam. "There is an inadequate level of investment in security compared to other areas of the mobile network. This is a wake-up call for service providers, especially as we're reaching a critical mass of smartphone users worldwide, not to mention a critical mass of data-enabled endpoints connecting to mobile phone networks including smartphones, tablets, eBook readers and more. The quantity of threats directed at mobile devices and their level of sophistication are on the rise."

Indeed, although 63.7 percent of respondents said high monthly running costs could be a cause for dropping their carrier, only 6.8 percent of respondents said that a data plan limit would cause them to leave their provider -- 57.2 percent of those polled claimed never to exceed their data plan limits -- and only 6.2 percent saying they would be prepared to leave due to slow mobile download speeds.

More concerning is the fact that regardless of how users' data is compromised, 38 percent of respondents would hold the network operator accountable, while only 18 percent would blame their handset's manufacturer or its operating system.

In the event of a smartphone being hacked, it was access to their personal information, such as credit card numbers and passwords that users (53%) were most worried about. Over 40 percent were worried about losing their stored contacts and 37 percent were concerned about their private media (photos, videos, text messages etc) being accessed and copied.