Indian cellular operators face the highest churn rates as compared to their counterparts in Asia Pacific (Apac) countries with the exception of Hong Kong. As per data released by research firm Gartner, the monthly churn rate that Indian operators grapple with ranges from 3.5 per cent to 6 per cent. That means around 3.5-6 per cent of wireless customers move from one operator to another every month.
India’s churn rate is higher than that of other Apac countries like Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, China, Taiwan and South Korea, among others. Indonesia has a lower monthly churn rate of 1-2 per cent per month while Japan’s monthly churn rate hovers around 1.5-2.6 per cent. China faces an annual churn of 6.6-13.6 per cent. On a monthly basis, Malaysia faces a churn of 2-2.5 per cent and Taiwan faces a churn rate of 2-3.5 per cent. Thailand sees a churn rate of 1.9-2.6 per cent on a monthly basis.
Hong Kong is the only other country which sees a higher churn rate at 4-6 per cent per month. “However, Hong Kong can’t really be compared with other Apac countries on the same platform given its geographical area,” said Gartner principal analyst Kobita Desai.
Ms Desai points out that half the customer base churns annually in India. The high churn rates can be explained from the fact that the market is relatively more competitive in India. “As on September-end, 2003, in all the Apac countries except for India and Hong Kong, two-three mobile operators had over 95 per cent of market share,” pointed out Ms Desai. In India, the top four operators had 72.42 per cent of market share, whereas the top three operators in Hong Kong owned 60 per cent of subscribers.