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Are all telcos the same? Over 1 in 5 Australians think so

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, January - December 2015, sample n = 8,234 Australians 14+. Respondents may have customer relationships with multiple providers.

Despite the fierce competition among telecommunications companies over quality and pricing, with sponsorship deals, content streaming partnerships, well-honed branding and huge advertising budgets, 22% of Australians (14+) think they’re all the same, Roy Morgan Research shows.

There is a wide margin between providers when it comes to how many of their customers (with at least one product or service) agree, ‘all telecommunications companies are the same no matter who you use’.

Just one in 10 ALDImobile customers think all telcos are the same (10%), which of course means that 90% think there are differences—which were presumably considered when choosing ALDImobile as well as any other providers they use. Other telcos with fewer customers agreeing all telcos are the same include Internode (12%), Adam (14%), iiNet (17%), Amaysim (17%), Westnet (18%), Virgin (18%), iPrimus (19%) and Southern Phone (19%).

Nearly two-thirds of Australians have some kind of relationship with Telstra, and 21% of these customers think all telcos are the same, just marginally below the norm.  

At the other end, almost three in 10 Dodo customers agree all telcos are the same (29%), as do above-average proportions of customers with Vodafone (27%), Boost (27%), Optus (24%) and TPG (23%).  

% of providers’ customers who agree, ‘all telecommunications companies are the same’

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, January - December 2015, sample n = 8,234 Australians 14+. Respondents may have customer relationships with multiple providers.

Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“This simple question about whether all telecommunication companies are the same raises many interesting issues worthy of further investigation by telcos. It goes to the heart of the millions of dollars in expenditure on branding and advertising, pricing and special offers, product and service delivery.

“The prevalence of this attitude varies greatly, not only by provider as shown, but among customers of different generations, with different combinations of fixed and mobile products, either bundled or held across multiple providers, with different rates of spending, satisfaction and switching.

“Perhaps it’s counterintuitive, but around one in four customers who are dissatisfied and/or intend to switch provider in the next year think all telcos are the same—that’s actually more likely than the norm. So how will these customers choose their next provider? Are they seeking a point of difference (perhaps something new they don’t know they want yet) or, all telcos being equal in terms, will it just come down to price?

“Two providers operating in the discount space, ALDImobile and Dodo, have the most and least discerning telecommunications customers respectively. This suggests that there fundamentally different perspectives from which certain types of customers arrive at the same price-based decision. It’s as though many of ALDImobile’s customers care enough about price to discern it’s the cheapest provider, while many of Dodo’s perhaps don’t care enough about telecommunications services to pay more than they need to.

“Providers that aren’t operating in the no-frills space need to highlight the value of their differentiating frills—whether that’s wider network coverage and faster internet speeds, more inclusions and better customer service, or premium access to video and music streaming or sports content.” 

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%