Mobile users tell service providers, "Treat us well and we'll stay. Treat us badly and we're off - and we won't be back".

After years of surveys and investigations it is generally accepted that mobile phone subscribers are a fickle lot, showing little loyalty to their service providers and willing to churn away to a competitor for a better (and usually cheaper) deal. They do so, in the main because they believe that in the past service providers routinely and cynically priced-gouged them and made it next to impossible to escape from onerous and lengthy contracts without having to pay swingeing 'penalty' costs.

But, although consumer suspicion remains high overall, clever companies can do quite a lot to help foster brand loyalty - provided they go about it in the right way.

According to data obtained from 29,000 individuals from 58 countries who replied to the Nielsen Global Survey of Loyalty Sentiment most respondents said they would stay with their retailers if they were able to take advantage of 'significant' incentives.

Three-quarters of global respondents said that discounted or free product offers are key to retaining their loyalty while enhanced customer service and free shipping incentives were important to 44 per cent and 42 per cent of respondents respectively.

Interestingly the Nielsen report shows that nearly one-quarter (24 per cent) of global respondents claimed complete loyalty to mobile phone brands and mobile service providers. That's the highest percentages reported globally across the 16 categories that Pew measured in the study and flies in the face of received wisdom. Consumers in the Middle East and Africa evince the highest levels of total loyalty to mobile phone brands (35 per cent) and mobile service providers (28 per cent ), well above the global average.

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