Cell phone users satisfaction level drops

Written by Vrishti Beniwal | New Delhi, Oct 17 | Updated: Oct 18 2007, 07:13am hrs
The mobile subscriber base in India may have swollen to over 200 million on the back of affordable handsets, but the overall satisfaction score of mobile users has declined for the first time in three years due to lack of good entertainment features in entry-level phones.

According to a study by research firm IDC, though mobile phones have become easier to use with better voice clarity and longer battery life, internal memory and entertainment features are the two parameters on which satisfaction has come down significantly.

Mobile handsets with higher memory and good entertainment features are still priced quite high. The entry-level phones are relatively poor on these parameters contributing to decline in satisfaction scores, said Kapil Dev Singh, country manager, IDC India.

Sony-Ericsson, which ranked highest in overall satisfaction by mobile handset users for second year consecutively, also saw a drop in satisfaction levels. Motorola, the most improved brand on satisfaction over last three years, grabbed the second spot, displacing Nokia to the third place. All other brands fared below the industry average.

The study pointed out since features such as integrated digital camera, music player and FM radio drive users to upgrade their handsets, companies need to review the premium charged for high-end mobiles. MMS in low-cost phones has failed to catch the fancy of masses due to high cost, but speakerphone can be the most cost effective differentiator.

The incremental spend for the next hand has grown to Rs 3,200 indicating that the experienced users are willing to spend higher amount for purchase of their next handset, said Shailendra Gupta, senior manager, consumer research, IDC India.

The study also found that a mobile handset is used for 56 minutes a day on an average, showing an improvement of 5 minutes over 51 minutes per day a year ago. Usage of SMS, the second most commonly used service, has also increased. An average SMS user sends eight messages in day, while the number of messages received is 10 per day.

The overall increased usage of SMS can be attributed to reasonable tariff charges, widespread usage of SMS by TV shows, and public opinion polls, Gupta added.