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Study: Carriers answer customer demands

The majority of cellular consumers are happy with the quality and coverage of their service, according to a study from Jupiter Research.

A whopping 68 percent of cellular customers are generally satisfied with the quality and coverage of their service, according to a new study released Tuesday.

Despite consumer group reports that wireless coverage is spotty and unreliable, only 10 percent of consumers surveyed by Jupiter Research expressed their dissatisfaction over the service quality.

Consumers' expectations are directly influenced by companies' branding and pricing campaigns, Jupiter Research said. "If you brand yourself as a low cost-carrier, you don't need to provide (the) best coverage. If you brand yourself 'the best network,' you'd better deliver good coverage," Jupiter analyst Avi Greengart said in the report.

If a company's operations match what its branding and marketing tell consumers they're going to get, chances are that it doesn't need to "blindly pour money into base stations and towers" to keep consumers happy, he added.

Wireless providers have been trying to come up with new ways to add features to their offerings. Top executives of wireless companies converged in Atlanta last month to discuss how to aggressively sell wireless data services to consumers.

But despite the billions spent on building 2.5G data-capable networks, data services have not become that popular. Apart from sending or receiving SMS (Short Message Service) messages, no other data service was used by more than 9 percent of U.S. consumers in the second half of 2003. Physical features of handsets, such as color screens, seem to be more important to consumers.