Nielsen releases Consumer Experience Mobile Test program findings

Nielsen, the global leader in benchmarking wireless and wireline network performance, has announced the results from its Consumer Experience Mobile Test program in India. The program measures wireless network performance for all national and select regional carriers in markets covering a population of nearly 100 million people across the country.

The network quality of operators is measured on three parameters – Reliability, Coverage, and Audio Quality. Nielsen’s benchmarking study shows that most cities have a clear network-quality leader. However, no single operator has a clear leadership position in all markets and there is significant variation in network performance across individual Indian cities.

Nielsen’s Consumer Experience Mobile Test program is an unbiased, third-party measurement of mobile networks, which is designed at a level of scale and scope that is unparalleled in India. The results of this research will help operators to manage their performance and guide corrective measures and new investment.

”There is an opportunity for an operator to get ahead of its competition and create a nationally or regionally differentiated network position in the market by using the competitive benchmarks to guide their investments,” said Ms. Shankari Panchapakesan, Executive Director, Telecom Practice Group, The Nielsen Company. Nielsen’s Best Practice Reliability metric indicates that there is room for improvement particularly in India’s Tier I markets.

Nielsen augments its Consumer Experience Mobile Test program with consumer surveys to measure customer attitudes and behaviors towards mobile operators. Nielsen’s Consumer Insights research measures metrics such as satisfaction, willingness to recommend, reasons for churn and reasons for operator selection.

According to the Nielsen survey carried out in the Top 10 Indian cities, 42 percent of Indian subscribers rate network performance as very important for selecting their mobile operator. In fact, with 34 percent of votes, network driven choice is ahead of price driven choice. After initial selection, satisfaction with network performance is the single most important driver for shaping overall satisfaction with the operator. Over 50 percent of the variation in satisfaction levels across operators is determined by the variation in their network performance. This compares favorably with what Nielsen has seen in other markets.

“Nielsen studies across the world show rising consumer expectations from Wireless Networks, even as their calling patterns and demands from the Network increase over time. As the market grows and newer services are introduced, to retain the current high levels of satisfaction and to remain competitive, Indian operators need to be on top of the changing expectations of their subscribers,” continued Ms. Panchapakesan.

Nielsen has demonstrated that network satisfaction is a key variable in understanding the health of a subscriber base. Research has found that some operators enjoy a higher perception of their Network compared to actual performance creating a risk to their business. Conversely, the perception of network quality of some operators lags their actual network performance creating an opportunity for them to educate subscribers via advertising and seek their rightful share of network-driven acquisitions.

The Nielsen India Consumer Experience Mobile Test program, started in August 2008, will cover nearly 163,000 km and a population of nearly 100 million people. Voice and data reports are available for 25 cities for immediate delivery. Another 19 cities will be completed by May 2009, and additional cities may be added based on market demand. As in other countries, the program is expected to serve as the industry standard by which operators will benchmark themselves against the competition.

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