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Most smartphone users in India feel mobile broadband services are "too expensive"

By Our Representative
A recent report by Ericsson ConsumerLab, “The changing mobile broadband landscape, India 2015” has said that affordability poses a “major barrier to mobile broadband adoption, particularly in a market as diverse as India, where hugely varied socioeconomic factors affect price sensitivity.” The report notes that as many as 88 percent of Indian smartphone owners, who do not use mobile broadband, feel it is “too expensive”.
Based on a survey of smartphone users in 33 cities, the report says, “For many, there exists a digital literacy gap between ownership of smartphones and the ability to use all of the features offered.” It adds, “30 percent of smartphone users not using mobile broadband stated that they do not have the digital knowledge to effectively use apps and digital services, and therefore do not perceive any value in subscribing to mobile broadband.”
The report says, “Another 48 percent are unable to distinguish between 2G and 3G speeds and thus see no advantage in switching to a high speed service”, adding, “Consumers will always need to recognize a clear personal benefit to using mobile broadband.”
Pointing out that “lack of added value attributed to the service continues to act as a deterrent”, the report states, “63 percent of urban mobile internet users face quality and reliability issues, such as lost connections and inconsistent network speeds, when using mobile networks indoors.”
It underlines, “App-related issues while outdoors or commuting affects 68 percent of urban mobile internet users. These include not being able to play online games due to a lengthy lag time, apps taking a long time to refresh, maps failing to load, and session failures.”
The report believes, these problems are “more common in mid-size and small towns than in large cities”, adding, however, that “55 percent of urban mobile internet users say they do not understand their data plan options, and that they are confused by the details” and only 12 percent of urban mobile internet users visit their operator’s website to recharge, pay bills or use other services.”
The report says, “Only 10 percent of people say they understand their plan perfectly, and are able to make an accurate judgment when deciding on a plan. If consumers are confident in their understanding of what is offered, they tend to perceive better value from it. In fact, they consume twice as much data compared to users who find it difficult to understand their plan.”
The report notes that the adoption of smartphones and mobile broadband by people in the lower socioeconomic strata of society is rising, which is also the case for the middle and senior age groups who see value in mobile. “Around one in three people are using smartphones in urban India”, it says.
“Indian smartphone users are increasingly adopting online navigation, e-commerce and cloud storage services”, the report says, adding, “36 percent of urban mobile internet users access financial services weekly on their smartphones.”
Pointing out that “network performance continues to be a challenge”, the report says, “68 percent of mobile internet users experience session failures and lengthy loading times while outdoors and 63 percent face quality and reliability issues indoors.”

All this is happening as a time when individuals from “low socioeconomic background” with “limited education” have begun using smartphones with 3G connection, the report says, giving the example of Israr, a wallpaper contractor, Israr, who sends pictures of completed jobs to the furnishing houses he receives contracts from.”
“Communicating and advertising via email and WhatsApp has improved Israr’s productivity, while increasing his income by 20 percent”, the report says.

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