Ericsson ConsumerLab: Network Performance shapes smartphone behavior in India

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Network performance shapes smartphone behavior in India

A new report from Ericsson ConsumerLab reveals how growth in smartphones and app usage in India are creating new user habits. Indoor coverage, speed and network availability are the key factors shaping smartphone behavior.

Ericsson ConsumerLab has studied how usage of apps and smartphones is leading to changes in Indian consumers’ smartphone habits and expectations about mobile broadband performance. The Ericsson ConsumerLab study carried out in April-June 2014 among 4000 smartphone users across 18 urban cities in India is based on a combination of a consumer perception survey with on-device measurements, which helps understand mobile broadband performance in terms of user satisfaction and needs, changes in behavior, app usage, data consumption and key metrics that drive network performance.

Over the last two years, there has been a 63% increase in app usage and 20% increase in terms of time spent by users on smartphones. On an average, Indian consumers spend over 3 hours a day on their smartphones and 25% consumers check their phones over 100 times a day. Around one-third of the time spent on smartphones is for using apps and this trend is expected to continue.

Social and chat apps are the reason why most new users buy a smartphone. However, 40% mature smartphone users say their usage is no longer limited to social purposes. 24% of smartphone owners use mobile apps such as WhatsApp and WeChat for business purposes to sell products and services, expanding their reach to new customers. Without the availability of Wi-Fi or fixed broadband at home, 8 in 10 smartphone users will continue to access mobile internet using mobile broadband.

"Maturity is an important dimension in mobile broadband behavior. Mature users consume almost twice as much data as new users. As consumers explore more apps and services relevant to their interests and needs, mobile broadband usage is set to grow.", states Mr. Ajay Gupta, VP-Strategy and Marketing, Ericsson India.

Mobile video usage is evolving, with mobile broadband users spending 61% more time on video apps compared to non-users. For one-third of consumers, smartphones are the only screen they use to view online mobile videos. The most popular way of consuming mobile videos is through chat apps – 1 in 3 watches videos shared by friends. Consumers prefer to stream videos rather than download, but 4 out of 10 mobile videos are interrupted by buffering or stalling.

Indian smartphone users now spend 191 minutes per day on smartphones, compared to 128 minutes watching TV. Network performance shapes smartphone behavior with satisfied users experiencing three times better web page load times, spending more time streaming videos via apps and staying connected using mobile broadband for a longer period of time.

Network performance is being redefined by consumer perceptions. Indian smartphone users often build perceptions based on how often the internet connection drops, how quickly web pages load, and time taken for apps to download. Other top perception drivers include indoor coverage and time taken to transfer files on chat apps.

The study revealed that there is a discrepancy between smartphone users’ expectations and their actual experiences. Consumers indicate that indoor coverage, speed and network availability are very important, but half of all issues encountered today in dense urban centers by mobile broadband users are faced indoors and 44% of the time a mobile broadband smartphone user does not have access to the network.

"Interestingly, smartphone users prioritized the service provider’s ability to solve mobile data issues as and when they arise over cheap mobile data tariffs or plans," adds Mr. Gupta. The Ericsson ConsumerLab Report states that 76% of consumers are willing to pay more for a guaranteed better mobile data experience.

In the future, as consumers increase their smartphone usage, their expectations and demands from networks around app coverage and network speeds will continue to grow.

"Network performance and app coverage are the critical areas of focus for mobile operators. Ericsson brings its solutions and global experience from leading markets to operators in India to deliver optimal consumer experience in sync with the growing needs of consumers," states Mr. Nishant Batra, VP- Engagement Practices at Ericsson India.

Read the report Performance shapes smartphone behavior

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