For consumers in India, the quality of a mobile phone provider’s network is the most important factor when choosing a carrier, according to the latest edition of the Nielsen Consumer Experience Mobile Test Program. But the fact is that most Indians don’t really know which provider has the best network in their circle, as service providers focus their advertising primarily on price.
Out of the 18 metro areas tested on the reliability metric, a clear “leader” exists in just four areas, while in 10 of the circles, there is a tie for first place. In the remaining four areas, there is neither a clear leader nor a tie. Further, the leader in network reliability is not always the leader in market share. For example, Reliance is the “clear lead” in the Andhra Pradesh area (whose capital and largest city Hyderabad), while Airtel has the most market share. Reliance had the highest network reliability in three areas (Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry), while TATA was top in UP and Uttaranchal.
“As Indian consumers consider network performance as a major selection and retention criterion, there is a huge opportunity for network leaders to educate consumers about the superiority of their network performance to gain subscriber base. This can be a huge marketing differentiator in an industry that is reeling under hyper competition,” said Shankari Panchapakesan, Executive Director, Telecom Practice at The Nielsen Company.
India’s wireless market potential is second only to China – and is rapidly threatening to overtake it. With 12 service providers across 23 wireless “circles” (metro areas), and six to eight providers in each circle, competition for customers is fierce. It is expected to heat up even more with the auction of new 3G licenses and the introduction of mobile number portability.