The latest annual TNS CellTrack 2006 study highlights the growth of the mobile telephony sector in India and the performance of the service providers in meeting the customer expectations. According to the study, the already high TRIM index for the industry – the metric that measures the strength of the ‘subscriber-service provider relationship’ – has got better and is at 82, up from 79 in 2005.
CellTrack is an annual study done by TNS since 2000 to better understand the customer purchase behaviour when it comes to handsets and their choice of service providers. These studies are designed to give a comprehensive view of performance of the mobile telephony industry.
For TNS CellTrack 2006, TNS zeroed in on 2,997 mobile users and 1,057 multi-brand retail outlets using a structured questionnaire across the 17-telecom circles, covering both GSM and CDMA service providers.
According to the study, Airtel is the number one player with the TRIM Index score up from 82 in 2005 to 90 this year. Hutch has also managed to improve their performance significantly and is at second place, while Reliance with a TRIM Index of 83 (80 in 2005) is third. Idea, BSNL and Tata Teleservices, have maintained their performance, but are significantly below the industry average of 82.
Aircel continues to top the regional player ratings with a TRIM Index score of 110. MNTL does not score as well with their business partners as they do with their customers.
Abraham Karimpanal, Head of Telecom Practice, TNS India said, “While it could be argued that MTNL is attracting a different profile of subscribers (with different set of expectations), this war is all about each operator understanding and / or crafting, and then managing their subscribers’ expectations. Whether by design or otherwise, MTNL has surpassed all others at it.”
The study covered multi-brand retail outlets (MBOs) to understand their needs and expectations from their business partners and to measure the performance of operators when it came to meeting these needs and expectations.
The study also delved on the factors that differentiate operators in the eyes of these MBOs – one of them being their ability to command ‘market pull’. The other quality being the operators understanding of the market and their ability to come up with tariff plans to meet the changing market needs.
The study also tracked the evolving brand choice and purchase behaviour for handsets among the Indian mobile users. Nokia continues to dominate the GSM market with a 79 per cent market share. Motorola is the brand that has been able to significantly improve its share by almost doubling from 3 per cent in 2005 to 7 per cent in 2006.