Survey finds: Coverage, not tariff, wins over mobile customers

15 Sep,2011

By A Correspondent

Good coverage above all other attractive schemes has been established as the unequivocal reason for subscriberspreference for a service provider of mobile telephony, according to a survey conducted by Opsbuds, the Bangalore-based provider of customer experience management and market research solutions for service providers.

From its recent survey, which adopted a three layered assessment of the minds of the mobile phone service users, Opsbuds found that bundle offers such as packaging handsets with free connection and widespread retail outlets are not a deciding factor for selecting a service provider by mobile phone users. On the contrary, good coverage has been established as the single top consideration across the circles.

Opsbuds  survey, coincidentally coming soon after the introduction of the Mobile Number Portability(MNP) system, however, revealed several other factors that worked to bond service providers with the subscribers.

The top of mind reason for preferring a service provider is good network coverage for 80% of the respondents which is the basic expectation of the service. The unaided reason for as many as 37 percent is brand image. Interestingly only on being aided a reason as little as 23 percent indicated innovative tariff plans to choose a service provider. Even in the case of prepaid customers on being aided low denomination recharge (~15%) and full recharge (~13%) option featured as a reason. Therefore, there seems to be a consensus among subscribers that pricing is not a decision maker, wonder why the Telcos are at a price war hitting their ARPUs.

Opsbuds detailed telecom report provides reasons for customers selecting a specific service provider. The quantitative research used the simple random sampling method over a statistically representative sample size of 2,408 mobile users.

The survey was conducted across the major telecom circles and metros in India   Bombay, Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata; Circle A (Gujarat, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh , rest of Tamil Nadu, rest of Maharashtra, Goa), Circle B (Punjab, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Kerala, Lakshadweep, Haryana, rest of West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh  West (UPW) Uttar Pradesh  East (UPE), Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim) and Circle C (Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Assam, North East, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh).

The objective of the study was to enable the service providers to develop and implement market strategies in the current market scenario.

Another phenomenon that is contrary to popular perception is the delta in usage between Airtel and Vodafone seems to be significantly higher than otherwise perceived with Airtel (67 percent) and Vodafone (18 percent). Given that Opsbuds adopted the simple random method without introducing any quota bias; this could well be the case. Opsbuds will investigate this phenomenon in their next report.

The fact that good coverage is the major reason across age, gender and circles will be a wakeup call for most of the service providers, who tend to be under the impression that brand and good tariff plans alone will make them sail through the customers mindshare. Also, an interesting finding was that IDEA/RCOM was among the top three performers in terms of brand image ahead of Tata, MTS and Uninor.

Speaking at the launch of the report, Mr K K Cariapa, Chief Buddy, Opsbuds said, We felt the need for bringing out a comprehensive report on what Indian consumers expect from telecom service providers, and some of the findings are very encouraging for the service providers. With the Indian customer evolving and becoming more tech savvy, telecom providers need to address the market very differently.

 

 

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE TELECOM REPORT
Nearly 82% of the respondent are in 21-40 year age group
Market share of service providers in the study area
64% of the respondents are utilizing pre paid connections 
Respondents using AIRTEL are 67% followed by VODAFONE 18%
Service provider wise location of the users share
Users from Circle-A prefer AIRTEL, BSNL, UNINOR and users from Circle-B prefer AIRTEL, VODAFONE, RELIANCE , IDEA & TATA and the users from the Circle-C prefers AIRTEL connections.
The preference in choosing service providers depends on the location of the users
Service provider wise prepaid/postpaid users share
The preference in choosing service providers depends on the type of connection required (postpaid/prepaid) by the users. 
Post paid connection users prefer AIRTEL, VODAFONE & TATA; whereas prepaid connection users prefer other service providers. 
The overall share of post paid users is 64% and 36% pre paid.
Service providers wise users age group
The preference in choosing service providers depends on the age group. 
More than 50 % of the users across all service providers were in the age group of 21-30 years
Users in the age group of <15 years prefer Idea, users in the age group of 16-20years prefer BSNL, TATA DOCOMO& UNINOR and the users in 20-30 years age group prefer Idea, UNINOR and AIRCEL connections. 
Users in the age group of 30-40 years prefer AIRTEL, VODAFONE, users in the age group of 40-50years prefers AIRTEL and the users in 50+ years age group prefer AIRTEL, BSNL and Reliance connections. 
Reasons for preferring a service provider
Good Coverage is the major reason followed by Brand Image, & Innovative service plans. (Customized Packages, Closed User Groups, tailored service packages etc.) 
Bundling handset with free connection and wider spared stores have little impact. 
Circle wise reasons for preferring a service provider
Good coverage is the top reason for preferring a service provider in all the circles 
Brand image is the second top reason for preferring service provider in all the circles except in Circle-A , in Circle A the second top reason is customized services 
Range of services and customized services are the 3rd & 4th top reasons in overall, Circle-B and Metro Circles. But in Circle-C the 3rd top reason is Low denomination recharge, Full recharge is the 5th reason and range of service is the 10th reason. 
Type of connection wise reasons for preferring a service provider
Irrespective of type of connection required, Good Coverage is the top reason for preferring a service provider. 
Brand Image is the second top reason for preferring service provider when prepaid connection is required but if postpaid is required Innovative tariff plans is the 2nd top reason. 
Innovative Tariff Plans is the third top reason for preferring service when prepaid connection is required and Brand Image is the third top reason for preferring service provider for postpaid connection.
Range of services is the 4th top reasons in post paid connections and for the prepaid connections low denomination recharge is the 4th top reason. 
Gender wise reasons for preferring a service provider
Good coverage is the top reason for preferring a service provider for all the genders 
Brand image is the second top reason for preferring service provider for females but the second top reason for males is customized services. 
Range of service and low recharge are the 4th & 5th top reasons respectively for males as well as females.
Age group wise reasons for preferring a service provider
Good coverage is the top reason for preferring a service provider for all the age groups 
Brand image is the second top reason for preferring service provider for >30 years of age group users and customized services is 2nd top reason for users in the age group of <30 years. 
Range of service is the 4th top reason for all the age groups except <15 years of age group users. For <15 years of age group users the 4th top reason is value added services. For this age group users Brand image is the 5th top reason for preferring service provider. 
Service provider wise Rating of reasons for preferring a service provider
Good coverage is the top reason for preferring a service provider for all the users except those who use the Uninor. 
Brand image is the second top reason for preferring service provider in AIRTEL and VODAFONE users , Customized services is the 2nd top reason in BSNL, RELIANCE, TATADOCOMO and AIRCEL users 
Range of service is the 4th top reasons in VODAFONE users and LOW RECHARGE is the 4th top reason in AIRTEL, IDEA and TATADOCOMO users 
Influence of dimensions in preferring the service
Airtel, Vodafone and BSNL were the top 3 Performers in terms of coverage (49%), breadth of services (26%), and cost effectiveness (16%). The bottom three were Tata, MTS and Uninor
Airtel, Vodafone and Idea/RCOM were the top 3 Performers in terms of Brand image (16%). The bottom three were Tata, MTS and Uninor

 

 

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