So far, management practitioners and scholars alike assume that raises in the contractual absolute maximum bandwidth of Internet connections increase the attitudinal bonds of customers with their access provider. The present study broadens this perspective: In a sample of up to 752 German-speaking Internet users with a wireline Internet access at home, it explores two relative speed characteristics of broadband connections as potential determinants of customer affinity with an access provider. The two reference-dependent aspects comprise customer quality experiences in terms of delivered transmission speeds (1) relative to the maximum down- and upload bandwidths as per customer contract, and (2) relative to speeds emphasized in advertisements of a consumer’s access provider. Furthermore, correlations are analyzed between the frequency with which customers use speed tests to check the quality of their wireline Internet connection and their attitudinal bonds with their access provider. Attitudinal bonding is broken down into customer satisfaction with the performance of the current wireline Internet access at home and propensity to churn at the earliest opportunity. Multivariate regression analysis reveals that the impression that advertised wireline access bandwidths are exaggerated compared to the speeds actually delivered and – to a lesser extent – the perception that the contractual maximum speed is reached only in a low share of a customer’s Internet sessions significantly decrease customer satisfaction and significantly increase customer inclination to churn. The effects of the two speed assessments are not independent of one another: Perceived speed exaggerations in a provider’s ads impair customer bonds less (more) strongly if the experienced share of Internet sessions with speeds below the contractual maximum bandwidth is high (low). More frequent speed testing reduces customer bonding, especially in case that advertised speeds of a customer’s provider are experienced as overblown. The results suggest that wireline Internet access providers can increase the attitudinal bonds with their customers by abstaining from emphasizing maximum speeds in their advertising, which customers rarely reach under standard everyday conditions.
Aiken, L.S. and West, S.G. (1991), Multiple regression: Testing and interpreting interactions, Sage: Newbury Park.
Barone, M.J. and Miniard, P.W. (1999), “How and when factual ad claims mislead consumers: Examining the deceptive consequences of copy x copy interactions for partial comparative advertisements”, Journal of Marketing Research, Vol. 36, No. 1, pp. 58-74.
Boush, D.M., Friestad, M. and Wright, P. (2009), Deception in the marketplace, Rout-ledge: New York.
Chuah, S.H., Marimuthu, M., Kandampully, J. and Bilgihan, A. (2017), “What drives Gen Y loyalty? Understanding the mediated moderating roles of switching costs and alternative attractiveness in the value-satisfaction-loyalty chain”, Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Vol. 36, No. 1, pp. 124-136.
Chuang, S.-C., Cheng, Y.-H., Chang, C.-J. and Yang, S.-W. (2012), “The effect of service failure types and service recovery on customer satisfaction: A mental accounting perspective”, The Service Industries Journal, Vol. 32, No. 2, pp. 257-271.
Cronbach, L.J. (1987), “Statistical tests for moderator variables: Flaws in analyses recently proposed”, Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 102, No. 3, pp. 414-417.
Dabholkar, P.A. and Sheng, X. (2008), “Perceived download waiting in using web sites: A conceptual framework with mediating and moderating effects”, Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, Vol. 16, No. 3, pp. 259-270.
Dellaert, B.G. and Kahn, B.E. (1999), “How tolerable is delay? Consumers’ evaluations of Internet web sites after waiting”, Journal of Interactive Marketing, Vol. 13, No. 1, pp. 41-54.
Elkins, E. (2018), “Powered by Netflix: Speed test services and video-on-demand’s global development projects”, Media, Culture & Society, Vol. 40, No. 6, pp. 838-855.
Fathy, D., Elsharnouby, T.H. and Aish, E.A. (2016), “Deception in advertising revisited: Antecedents and differences in perception across consumer groups”, International Journal of Business and Emerging Markets, Vol. 8, No. 4, pp. 403-425.
Faulhaber, G.R. (2010), “Transparency and broadband Internet service providers”, International Journal of Communication, Vol. 4, No 1, pp. 738-757.
Gerpott, T.J. (2016), “Management von Kundenzufriedenheit in der Mobilfunkbranche”, in Homburg, C. (ed.), Kundenzufriedenheit (9th ed.), Springer Gabler: Wiesbaden, pp. 459-505.
Gerpott, T.J. (2017a), “Regulierung der Mindestqualität von Internetzugangsdiensten”, Netzwirtschaften & Recht, Vol. 14, No. 3-4, pp. 143-149.
Gerpott, T.J. (2017b), “Informationsbereitstellung für Verbraucher bei Internetzugangsdiensten”, Kommunikation & Recht, Vol. 20, No. 6, pp. 378-383.
Gerpott, T.J., Rams, W. and Schindler, A. (2001), “Customer retention, loyalty, and satisfaction in the German mobile cellular telecommunications market”, Telecommunications Policy, Vol. 25, No. 4, pp. 249-269.
Gillespie, E.A., Hybnerova, K., Esmark, C. and Noble, S.M. (2016), “A tangled web: Views of deception from the customer’s perspective”, Business Ethics: A European Review, Vol. 25, No. 2, pp. 198-216.
Giovanis, A.N., Zondiros, D. and Tomaras, P. (2014), “The antecedents of customer loyalty for broadband services: The role of service quality, emotional satisfaction and corporate image”, Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences, Vol. 148, pp. 236-244.
Gneezy, A., Gneezy, U. and Lauga, D.O. (2014), “A reference-dependent model of the price-quality heuristic”, Journal of Marketing Research, Vol. 51, No. 2, pp. 153-164.
Grubesic, T.H. (2015), “The broadband provision tensor”, Growth and Change, Vol. 46, No. 1, pp. 58-80.
Grzybowski, L., Hasbi, M. and Liang, J. (2018), “Transition from copper to fiber broadband: The role of connection speed and switching costs”, Information Economics and Policy, Vol. 42, No. 1, pp. 1-10.
Hasan, S.A., Subhani, M.I. and Mateen, A. (2011), “Effects of deceptive advertising on consumer loyalty in telecommunication industry of Pakistan”, Information Management and Business Review, Vol. 3, No. 5, pp. 261-264.
Jha, S. and Balaji, M.S. (2015), “Perceived justice and recovery satisfaction: The moderating role of customer-perceived quality”, Management & Marketing, Vol. 10, No. 2, pp. 132-147.
Kahneman, D. and Tversky, A. (1979), “Prospect theory: An analysis of decision under risk”, Econometrica, Vol. 47, No. 2, pp. 263-291.
Khan, S.K., Saeed, N., Feroz, M., Liaqaut, S., Khan, A. and Jabeen, Z. (2015), “Impact of deceptive marketing on consumers behavior: A case of cellular industry of Pakistan”, Journal of Marketing and Consumer Research, Vol. 18, No. 1, pp. 91-100.
Kim, H.-S. and Yoon, C.-H. (2004), “Determinants of subscriber churn and customer loyalty in the Korean mobile telephony market”, Telecommunications Policy, Vol. 28, No. 9-10, pp. 751-765.
Klingbeil, L. (2017), “Interview Netzfragen zur Bundestagswahl”, Telepolis Onlinemagazin für Politik & Medien im digitalen Zeitalter (2. Sep. 2017). Available at http://www.heise.de/-3820058 (accessed December 12, 2018).
Klink, J., Podolska, M.J. and Uhl, T. (2012), Regulatory framework and technical aspects of broadband access to the Internet in Europe, 2nd Baltic Congress on Future Internet Communications. Vilnius: IEEE. DOI: 10.1109/BCFIC.2012.6217980. Available at http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?tp=&arnumber=6217980 (accessed December 12, 2018).
Quach, T.N., Jebarajakirthy, C. and Thaichon, P. (2016), “The effects of service quality on internet service provider customers’ behaviour”, Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, Vol. 28, No. 3, pp. 435-463.
Podsakoff, P.M., MacKenzie, S.B., Lee, J.-Y. and Podsakoff, N.P. (2003), “Common method biases in behavioral research: A critical review of the literature and recommended remedies”, Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 88, No. 5, pp. 879-903.
Riquelme, I.P., Romàn, S. and Iacobucci, D. (2016), “Consumers’ perceptions of online and offline retailer deception: A moderated mediation analysis”, Journal of Interactive Marketing, Vol. 35, No. 1, pp. 16-26.
Ryan, G., Mar Pàmies, M. del and Valverde, M. (2015), “WWW=Wait, wait,wait: Emotional reactions to waiting on the Internet”, Journal of Electronic Commerce Research, Vol. 16, No. 4, pp. 261-275.
Ryan, G. and Valverde, M. (2006), “Waiting in line for online services: A qualitative study of the user’s perspective”, Information Systems Journal, Vol. 16, No. 2, pp. 181-211.
Thaichon, P., Lobo, A., Prentice, C. and Quach, T.N. (2014), “The development of service quality dimensions for internet service providers: Retaining customers of different usage patterns”, Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Vol. 21, No. 6, pp. 1047-1058.
Xie, G.-X., Madrigal, R. and Boush, D.M. (2015), “Disentangling the effects of perceived deception and anticipated harm on consumer responses to deceptive advertising”, Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 129, No. 2, pp. 281-293.