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Consulta responds to ASA ruling on Vodacom’s claim as the “best mobile network for three years”

We, Consulta, a leading South African research company, have studied the latest Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruling regarding South Africa’s best mobile network as well as media reports on the matter and wishes to set the record straight.

The ASA has ordered Vodacom to retract its claim as the “Best mobile network for three years.” In its order, ASA says that Vodacom has used the 2017 SAcsi reports incorrectly to justify its claim. Specifically the ASA stated that Vodacom only won the “Best Network” accolade in 2017.

Awarding Vodacom “Best Network” is based on the internationally licensed methodology that measures customer satisfaction and was published in the 2017 South African Customer Satisfaction Index (SAcsi) for Mobile Networks, conducted by Consulta. The report not only provided the 2017 index for the industry, but also reported on the index scores for 2016 and 2015. Vodacom won outright in all 3 years.

The SAcsi for Mobile Networks is one of several industry benchmarks measured and published annually, and provides a statistically sound measure of customer satisfaction for the year reported on, as well as the Index scores of previous annual measures for trend analysis. It has been stated that the 2017 score is based on "an analysis of certain factors over a three-year period", which is factually incorrect, as each year is measured and reported on separately.

It is crucial to differentiate the SAcsi methodology – which measures a number of different metrics - compared with ones that purely measures network speed or performance. It appears that there is some confusion over the use of “Network”.

“The SAcsi adopts a wider definition of the term ‘Network’, which includes the quality perceptions of technology components, products, services and operations of the four large Mobile Networks, namely Vodacom, MTN, Cell C and Telkom Mobile. It does not only measure the technical GSM infrastructure of the Mobile Network but includes network quality and performance as part of a much larger set of metrics,” says Professor Adré Schreuder, Consulta CEO & Chair of the SAcsi.

The SAcsi Index score benchmarks performance between brands that exceed or fall short of customer expectations. It assesses how well a brand performs against respondents’ perception of the ideal customer experience. The Index uses three foundations - Customer Expectations, Perceived Quality and Perceived Value - as input into the causal model to scientifically calculate the final SAcsi score. The methodology involves survey interviews with randomly selected customers each year.

The Mobile Networks Industry Benchmark SAcsi scores for the last three years, measured in each year, is as follows:


The validity of “Best” means that a random and statistically valid sample of customers have rated an organisation as leader on the SAcsi Index. Consulta have verified the statistical significance of the lead score to conclude that “Best” is logical and valid.

The SAcsi uses customer interviews as input to a multi-equation econometric model developed by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business. The ACSI model embeds customer satisfaction within a series of cause-and-effect relationships, is globally accepted in 23 countries, and has been cited in over 6,000 articles and journals.