Operational Variance Among Indian Smartphones Higher Than Global Benchmark: Study

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Nearly 38 per cent of India’s major selling smartphone models differ almost +/- 30 per cent, thus significantly impacting customer experience

Operational performance variances amongst smartphones in India exceed the international benchmarks, according to a new study by think tank Broadband India Forum (BIF) and telecom audit and analytics company Phimetrics.

However, such trends not only have an impact on customer experience but may also possibly cause a loss of US$ 30 billion to the Internet economy by 2020.

This is a first-of-its-kind study that analysed the operational variances among smartphones across the categories – premium, mid-range and budget across several markets including India.

“Operational variance bands in smartphones globally are +/- 10 per cent. On the other hand, these bands in India are in the range of +/- 27%, thus significantly impacting the customer experience,” said the study.

The considerable difference in Indian smartphones highlights that the models in India significantly vary from their global peers.

Impact on internet economy

Commenting on the findings, Kartik Raja, Founder and Chairman, Phimetrics Technologies, said, “It is a quantitative assessment of the impact of smartphones on the networks. It highlights the performance of Indian smartphones and points out some serious operational variances across all price-bands which in turn adversely affects the internet economy in terms of man-hours lost as well as having a negative financial impact.”

Raja further said, “Most customers being unaware of these variations end-up buying handsets based on vanity metrics that has no correlation with operational excellence, as the key performance indicators are not provided for their consideration and evaluation. Simplifying a consumer purchase decision with a simple star rating mechanism may be the need of the hour and will be helpful for customers to make informed decisions.”

Key parameters

To highlight the operational variances, testing was conducted under same network conditions and were then compared to the similar variances in global markets. The operational variances were measured on four major parameters including upload speeds, download speeds, web browsing delay and video buffer time.

Nearly 38 per cent of India’s major selling smartphone models differ almost +/- 30 per cent, thus significantly impacting customer experience. In premium handsets category, the operational variance was in the region of +/- 15 per cent and most of the smartphones were within the range of +/- 10% only which is close to international benchmarks. Thus, these phones did not have much impact on customer experience.

On the other hand, handsets in low-mid category displayed maximum variance, around +/- 30 per cent across all key performance indicators.

There is a direct impact of operational issues with regards to delays and possible loss to the internet economy. The overall delays experienced because of poor performing handsets was seen to be 25,000 man-years and the potential loss is estimated to be around US$ 30 billion to the internet economy by 2020 projections, the study highlighted.

T.V. Ramachandran, President, BIF, said, “A wide variety of factors, both at the network level as well as device level contribute to the overall mobile experience. While not previously unaddressed, differences in performance between devices and their effect on the user experience are rarely examined in a public policy context. The timing of this report is fortuitous, given the near-term migration to next generation 5G networks. It’s an aspect that may have been missed but is a critical determinant of accelerated mobile adoption.”

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