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Smartphone Customer Experience Variance in India Significantly Higher Than Global Benchmarks

  • Global operational variance bands  in smartphones are +/- 10%
  • India operational variance bands are  in the region of +/- 27% thereby impacting customer experience significantly
  • Operational variances cause net loss to internet economy estimated at US$30 Billion
  • Operational variance of India’s top selling smartphone models is in the region of 30% while that of premium smartphones is in the range of 15%
  • Smartphone models were selected from top global device manufacturers includding Apple, Samsung, Huawei, OnePlus 6, Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo, LG and Panasonic.

New Delhi, Nov 27, 2018 – Broadband India Forum (BIF) along with Phimetrics (a leading independent telecom audit and analytics company) released a first-of-its-kind study that tested the operational variances of smartphones across the premium, mid-range and low-priced categories across multiple markets including India. The report shows a variance of +/- 27% range for data and +/- 0.5% range for voice for India – suggesting a serious implication for overall customer service.


The testing was done under similar network conditions to highlight these operational variances and these were then compared to similar variances in global markets.  The variance in operations in India across all phones was in the region of +/- 27% while the global benchmark for such operational variance is seen to be in the region of only +/- 10%. The significantly higher difference in Indian smartphones highlights that the models in India differ significantly from global peers. Smartphone variance was measured across 4 key operational parameters – (i) Download Speeds; (ii) Upload Speeds; (iii) Video Buffer Time and (iv) Web Browsing Delay.
The report highlights that almost 38% of India’s top selling models vary as much as +/- 30% thus impacting customer experience significantly. In the case of premium handsets, the operational variance seen was in the rage of +/- 15% and most handsets were within the +/- 10% range only which is very close to global benchmarks. Thus, these handsets did not impact customer experience greatly. However, devices in the low-mid range showed the highest variance, typically around +/- 30% across all KPIs.

The report also highlighted that operational issues have a direct impact in terms of delays and potential loss to the internet economy. Total delays experienced due to poor performing devices was seen to be 25,000 man-years and the potential loss to the internet economy (2020 projections) is estimated to be around US$30 Billion.
Since the report only tested the top selling smartphones across price-points, the variance impact is likely to be higher when all devices are considered. The highest variance has been seen in the low-device segment which is also the highest selling (number of units) thereby maximising the impact in terms of man-hours lost and the financial impact on the economy. A country variance of +/- 27% suggests serious implications on overall customer experience.

Mr. Kartik Raja, Founder and Chairman, Phimetrics Technologies Pvt Ltd said, “This first ever customer experience study on the Indian smartphone market is quite an eye-opener on several counts. 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. 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.”

Mr. T. V. Ramachandran, President, Broadband India forum 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.”

Customer Experience Variance across parameters
  • Download Speeds
    • Variance band in the premium segment is upto 30% whereas in the low-tier and mid-tier segments the variance band ranges from 2% - 59%
    • Overall download speed variance band is 26%
    • Average range of speeds on acceptable devices: 9.1 Mbps – 11.3 Mbps
    • Average range of speeds seen on inconsistent devices: 4.6 Mbps – 8.9 Mbps

  • Upload Speeds
    • Variance band in the premium segment is upto 22% whereas in the mid-tier segment it ranges from 17% - 34% and in the low-tier segment it ranges from 6% - 53%.
    • Overall upload speed variance band is 25%
    • Average range of speeds on acceptable devices: 2.6 Mbps – 3.2 Mbps
    • Average range of speeds seen on inconsistent devices: 1.6 Mbps – 2.5 Mbps

  • Video Interruption Delay
    • Variance band in the premium segment is upto 26% whereas in the low-tier and mid-tier segments the variance band ranges from 3% - 59%
    • Overall video interruption delay variance band is 25%
    • Average range of delays on acceptable devices: 5.7 secs – 6.8 secs
    • Average range of delays seen on inconsistent devices: 6.9 secs – 9.0 secs

  • Web Browsing Delay
    • Variance band in the premium segment is upto 21% whereas in the mid-tier segment the variance band ranges from 16% - 34% and in the low tier segment it ranges from 3% - 58%
    • Overall web browsing delay variance band is 30%
    • Average range of delays on acceptable devices: 3.8 secs – 4.5 secs
    • Average range of delays seen on inconsistent devices: 4.8 secs – 6.0 secs

  • Interruptions During Audio Calls
    • Variance band in the premium segment is upto +/- 0.2% whereas in the mid-tier segment the variance band ranges from +/- 0.27% to +/- 0.97% and in the low tier segment it ranges from +/-1.06 % - +/-1.0%.
    • Overall interruptions during audio call variance band is 0.5%
    • Average range of interruptions on acceptable devices: 0.06% - 2.0 %
    • Average range of interruptions seen on inconsistent devices: 0.27% - 1.5%


Methodology Globally handset variance of top 10 global models like Apple, Samsung and Huawei were analyzed through crowdsource data across 30 countries of Europe, Middle East and Asian markets which alone tantamount to 50% of market share. Comparatively, 12 Indian cities underwent diagnostic tests using metrics of download speed, upload speed, video buffering time and web browsing delay at 15 unique clusters with approximately 2500 hours of cumulative rigorous testing. These tests were conducted across premium segment of iPhone X, iPhone 8, One Plus 6 etc that captured 55% market share, mid-end like Xiomi Note 5 Pro, Oppo A83 that make up 68% market share and low end like Samsung J2 Pro, Vivo Y71 that occupy 42% market share.


About Broadband India Forum
Broadband India Forum (BIF) functions as a policy forum and think-tank that works for the development & enhancement of the entire broadband ecosystem in a holistic technology-neutral and service-neutral manner. BIF seeks to be a thought leader and a credible and effective voice to help propel the nation to achieve the country’s ambitious vision r of creating a Digital India. To achieve this, BIF works to promote the rapid development of policies to promote affordable and high speed ubiquitous broadband throughout the country.

Registered as IPTV Society, its brand - BIF was formed in October 2015 and is a fairly nascent but dedicated Forum with participation from all stake holders, including Technology Providers, Telecom Operators, Internet Service Providers, Value-Added Service Providers, Satellite Operators and service providers, MSO, startups and professional entities as well as seasoned Industry professionals who are familiar with different technologies, operations, regulations and policies.

About Phimetrics Technologies Pvt. Ltd
Phimetrics Technologies Pvt. Ltd is a company specializing in radio domain in telecom, analytics and advisory services. It has 9+ years of vast telecom experience.

Phimetrics’ solutions are a result of its deep and intensive telecom domain knowledge. Whether you are a telecom regulator, a network operator, a vendor or a service provider, Phimetrics can help you deliver more value to your end customers.

Phimetrics- largest independent telecom audit and analytics player in India operates across emerging markets in Asia, MEA and the Carribean.

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