Indian Mobile Phone Users Attracted by Coverage and Services, Not Branding

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Brand consciousness for telecom services is significantly lower for users in India. Yet most users believe their mobile telephony experience is driven by the quality of the mobile phone network according to the findings of a PwC Consumer Value Survey.

Most mobile phone consumers in India largely derive value from mobile telephony by way of a feeling of security, being in touch with their family, helping them co-ordinate with others, in saving time and expanding their social network. Newer users value the feeling of security that mobiles give them more than those who have used mobiles for a while.

However, the survey finds that the value proposition derived from any service, across segments, is fully established in the first year, and no further value growth is felt after that. The survey also reveals that coverage remains the largest determinant and newer users are the most likely to switch.

Mohammad Chowdhury, Leader Telecom, PwC India, said, "84 per cent consumers feel that the mobile is good value for money and 80 per cent believe that the mobile is important to them. However, there are 20 per cent consumers who do not see much value in mobile telephony. The survey results show that the burden of delivery is on operators for delivering a superior user experience. This presents them with the opportunity to differentiate their network on range, speed and quality."

No customer segment values brand above price or value in India, although brand is more important than recommendations.

SEC C has the lowest brand consciousness but the highest price and value consciousness. This segment, comprising the skilled working class, appears to be a tough-to-crack market. The switching tendency of SEC C is higher than the overall average.

SEC D and E, making up 47% of India's population, see least value in mobile telephony. There is thus room to take them up the value curve and thereby potentially improve revenue, the survey finds. SEC D is highly aspirational though, with users preferring to spend significantly more money purchasing their next handset.

"Clearly there are various opportunity areas for telecom players as the survey results reveal. For instance, while awareness among data services users in Gujarat is relatively higher than those in Mumbai, usage is relatively lower. Marketers have an opportunity to drive more usage by understanding what users in Gujarat are really looking for," Mohammad Chowdhury added.

Similarly, while awareness levels in Assam are significantly lower than in other states, usage of mobile data services is surprisingly high. Operators can tap this opportunity to market mobile services as a substitute for the lack of other entertainment options. Wi-Fi is another area that can drive growth for telecom operators in India.

Advertising is given the lowest importance. The mobile users' aspirations to buy a more expensive phone are largely irrespective of their socio-economic status, the survey finds.

The survey also found that the desire to use 3G is still limited: Across socio-economic segments, only half of the aware population also wish to use 3G. However, despite that, data usage makes a customer more sticky: 41 percent of data users are likely to switch networks as compared to 30 percent non-data users

Data users appear to be more fun loving and seekers of new experiences. This was also reflected in their switching tendency. The segment may place a premium on innovation and not be satisfied with just utility, the survey finds.

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Tags: India 

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