The purpose of this paper is to show the importance of understanding consumer behaviour through research, in two main areas of the telecommunications market place. Firstly, it will discuss the importance of considering the consumer within the broader context of the macro-economic and social environment. It will then present findings of attitudinal research identifying major factors which impact the way in which consumers think about and ultimately acquire new technology-based products and services - the thesis being that supply- side and technologically deterministic approaches are too simplistic. The paper will then discuss how companies - such as telecom operators - need to extend this understanding of the consumer in their approach to the marketing communications of their products and services and also to how they maintain customer relationships. As competition in the telecom environment takes hold, this will be critical to the success of any operator or equipment provider.