Depending on where you live, using the wrong mobile carrier can be an expensive, frustrating nightmare. And if you listen to the anecdotal evidence, it seems like a whole lot of mobile users live in crappy-service hell.

But there’s more to the story than all those complaints. To find out what’s really going on, ReadWrite recently ran a survey of our readers to see how they really felt about their mobile carriers, and how open they were to change.

(See ReadWrite Mobile Carrier Survey: What Would It Take For You To Switch?)

The 179 responses we got do not represent a scientific sampling, but they painted a clear picture of a world where most people are surprisingly okay with their mobile carriers, and not inclined to jump ship without a good reason.

Undeserved Bad Reputations?

Despite the sketchy reputation enjoyed by many mobile carriers, the vast majority of respondents were either Very Satisfied (23%) or Somewhat Satisfied with their service. Only 13% were Somewhat Unsatisfied, and a paltry 4% were Very Unsatisfied.

And they had lots of reasons for staying put – ironically, the very same reasons that mobile users seem to complain about the most.

Just over half (50.3%) actually cited Network Coverage as a reason not to switch carriers, followed by Service Rates and Plans (45%). Some 27% were convinced to stay by their carrier’s device selection, and 21% cited the benefits of sharing a carrier with family, friends and co-workers. A significant minority (37%), though, said they weren’t switching because of the hassles involved.

Money Talks

So, what would make you switch? Money, mostly.

65% said they’d dump their carrier for a better deal, and 24% were looking for more inclusive Network Coverage. Note that those are also the top two factors helping to keep people from switching as well. Obviously, those two factors trump everything else when choosing a mobile carrier.

Perhaps because the iPhone 5 and most of the top Android models are now avialable at a variety of carriers, only 4.5% said they’d consider moving for a better selection of mobile devices.

Finally, fewer than 1% were interested in sharing a carrier with others – I guess those family plans and free calling to other users of the same carrier don’t carry much weight.

Ultimately, it seems, only network coverage and cost really make a difference. And a surprisingly high percentage of survey respondents are relatively happy with what they’ve already got in both areas.

(For more surveys, see ReadWrite Survey Results: What A Typical BYOD Program Really Looks Like)

Lead image courtesy of Shutterstock.