Customer retention (CR), loyalty (CL), and satisfaction (CS) are important (intermediate) goals for telecommunication network operators on their way to superior economic success in the liberalized German market. Therefore, drawing on a sample of 684 residential customers of digital cellular network operators in Germany this study tests hypotheses suggesting that CR, CL, and CS should be treated as differential constructs which are causally inter-linked. LISREL analyses support a two-staged model in which overall CS has a significant impact on CL which in turn influences a customer's intention to terminate/extend the contractual relationship with his mobile cellular network operator (= CR). Mobile service price and personal service benefit perceptions as well as (lack of) number portability between various cellular operators were identified as supply-related variables with the strongest effects on CR. Mobile network operators' perceived customer care performance had no significant impact on CR. The findings suggest that an important lever for regulators to promote competition in cellular markets is the enforcement of efficient number portability procedures between mobile network operators.
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