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					                                                                 The Nielsen Company
                                                                 Dr.B.A.Road, Voltas House A
                                                                 1st Floor, Chinchpokli (East)
                                                                 Mumbai-400 033

News Release

CONTACT:                                                                   FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Biswarup Banerjee;;
+91 22 66632521; +91 9967571683


   Significant Advertising Opportunity Exists for Service Providers with Best Network

         Reliance Number One in Network Reliability in Three Circles, TATA in One

Mumbai, November 16, 2009: Network quality is the most important consideration for Indians when it
comes to selecting a Service Provider. But the fact is Indians don‟t really know which Service Provider
has the best Network in their circle, all they know or to be more precise are told by the Service Providers
is how much lower their prices are when compared to the competition. Reliance is the Number One
Service Provider in Network Reliability in Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, while
TATA takes the Number One position in Uttar Pradesh. But does anyone know that?

The Nielsen Company, the world leader in benchmarking wireless and wireline network performance,
has announced the results from its continuous network benchmarking program in India called - “Nielsen
Consumer Experience Mobile Test Program.” The program measures wireless network performance
for all national and select regional Service Providers in markets covering a population of nearly 100
million people across the country.

Nielsen launched this syndicated, one-of-a-kind Nielsen Consumer Experience Mobile Test Program in
India in August 2008, bringing over ten years of industry experience from North America where the
program is subscribed to by all US Wireless Service Providers and has a currency status in the Industry.
The program tests and reports the performance and quality of the top six Service Providers in numerous
markets across India testing both Voice and Data networks. The objective is to provide an independent,
unbiased, third-party view of network performance along with consumer‟s perception of Service

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Nielsen Consumer Experience Mobile Test Program in India shows that there is a huge disconnect
between what is important to consumers vs. what is being focused on by Service Providers. It shows that
even though network quality is a more important criterion than price, price war between Service
Providers has become customer acquisition tool. Due to this lack of information and communication
consumers don‟t know who the market leaders are in network quality in their circle and are compelled to
make choices based on their perception of supremacy. The result, market shares in India do not follow
network superiority because leading Service Providers have failed to advertise this information to the
Indian consumer.

In markets such as North America, a Network Leader has emerged due to clear network superiority. The
lead in market share follows the lead in network performance. Both Verizon and AT&T have spent about
$360M last year advertising on network claims.

The story in India is hugely different. Nielsen‟s Consumer Experience Mobile Test Program results
indicate that out of 18 circles tested on Reliability metric a clear “Leader” exists in just four circles and in
ten out of eighteen circles tested, there is a tie for first place for Network Reliability. In the remaining four
circles, there is neither a clear leader, nor a tie for first position. See Table 1. The table also
demonstrates that in India the leader in market share does not follow the lead in network performance.

“As Indian consumers consider network performance as a major selection and retention criterion, there is
a huge opportunity for network leaders to educate consumers about the superiority of their network
performance to gain subscriber base. This can be a huge marketing differentiator in an industry that is
reeling under hyper competition,” said Shankari Panchapakesan, Executive Director, Telecom Practice,
The Nielsen Company.

Network leaders but not market leaders

The Telecom sector in India has a scarcity of spectrum and the hyper competition in the sector has
resulted in networks whose performance has not kept up with demand. To gain market share Service
Providers resorted to price wars and reduced their tariffs to such an extent that today India has the
lowest ARPUs in the world. This price war coupled with the huge budgets allocated to advertising has
resulted in an explosion in the subscriber base. Ironically, it reflects a phenomenon where the market
share does not necessarily follow network performance as demonstrated in Table 1.

The wireless market potential in India is second only to China and is rapidly threatening to overtake it.
The Indian wireless market is one of the world‟s most competitive, with 12 Service Providers across 23
wireless “circles” and six to eight competing Service Providers in each circle. Competition in Indian
telecom market is expected to intensify further following the commencement of services by new UASL
holders, the auction of new 3G licenses and the introduction of mobile number portability (MNP).

“The Indian Service Providers are in a frenzy to capture market share as quickly as possible. Thus, new
Service Providers will find it difficult to gain market share in the crowded wireless market. They will face

challenges in terms of high subscriber acquisition costs, lower ARPU customers and lack of adequate
spectrum quality. Getting superior network quality and communicating the same to the consumers will
prove helpful,” said Panchapakesan.

The consumer angle

The Indian mobile subscriber is rapidly evolving into a mature subscriber who can discriminate on the
basis of superior network. This is evident from Nielsen‟s Mobile Consumer Insights survey, which
indicates that network satisfaction is driving overall satisfaction with services, offered by the Service
Providers and has increased from 50 percent in the latter half of 2008 to 54 percent in the first half of
2009. Similar to other parts of the world, in India too a network „Leader‟ will emerge based on superiority
in network performance. As the average Indian subscriber becomes more and more discerning and
network experience and word of mouth make their impact, we will see market share follow the “network”.

Nielsen Consumer Experience Mobile Test Program data, which gauges network performance across 18
markets, has been integrated with its Mobile Consumer Insights data to understand customer perception
of a Service Provider against its actual network performance. The results for the same vary across
markets and Service Providers. See Table 2.

Table 2 shows that Service Provider 1 in most of the markets seems to have a perception which is
consistent with its actual performance. However, Service Provider 4‟s actual coverage performance
„overhangs‟ consumer perception of the same. Hence, this Service Provider should prioritize investment
in its marketing and communication efforts. Service Provider 5, on the other hand, is in a situation where
consumer perception of coverage overhangs actual coverage performance. This Service Provider should
prioritize investment in network build-out over marketing and communication efforts.

About Nielsen Consumer Experience Mobile Test Program
Nielsen Consumer Experience Mobile Test Program network quality research is an unbiased, third-party
measurement of mobile networks, uninfluenced by any Service Provider/ entity and is designed at a level
of scale and scope that is unparalleled in India. Every aspect of the program is methodology-driven
including drive route selection and scoring of Voice Quality, ensuring all networks are tested on par.

Sophisticated benchmarking equipment with handsets mounted inside vans continuously drive pre-
determined roads. These test handsets are programmatically set-up to make calls on Service Providers‟
networks. The ensuing call events, coverage, call quality and other network parameters are logged on to
files. These files are post-processed using Nielsen proprietary software to create competitive network
benchmarking reports.

Nielsen supports and augments its benchmarking program with actual customer surveys that measure
perceived customer satisfaction, across many areas. Nielsen Mobile Consumer Insight surveys
respondents across a number of satisfaction metrics that include overall satisfaction, willingness to
recommend and reasons for Service Provider‟s choice.

About The Nielsen Company
The Nielsen Company is a global information and media company with leading market positions in
marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence,
mobile measurement, trade shows and business publications (Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter,
Adweek). The privately held company is active in more than 100 countries, with headquarters in New
York, USA. For more information, please visit,

Table 1: Circles tested by Nielsen show if a clear rank #1 or tie exists for Reliability metrics
across top 6 Service Providers tested in each circle

                                                          Network Lead                  Market Share Lead*
                                               Competitive Network Benchmarking

                        Circle             Clear Lead         Tied for First Position

             Andhra Pradesh             Reliance - CDMA                                       Airtel


             Chattisgarh                                   TATA- CDMA, Reliance- CDMA

             Delhi                                         TATA- CDMA, Reliance- CDMA         Airtel

             Gujarat                                       TATA- CDMA, Reliance- CDMA         VODA



             Karnataka                                     BSNL- GSM, Reliance- CDMA          Airtel

             Kerala                                        Reliance- CDMA, VODA- GSM           Idea

             Madhya Pradesh              Reliance- CDMA

             MH & Goa                                      Reliance- CDMA, VODA- GSM           Idea

             Mumbai                                        Reliance- CDMA, VODA- GSM          VODA


             Punjab & Chandigarh                             IDEA- GSM, BSNL- GSM             Airtel

             Rajasthan                                      TATA- CDMA, VODA- GSM             Airtel

             Tamil Nadu & Pondicherry    Reliance- CDMA                                       Aircel

             UP & Uttaranchal             TATA- CDMA                                          VODA

             West Bengal                                    TATA- CDMA, VODA- GSM

* Source: COAI & AUSPI July‟09 Published Figures

Table 2: Actual Coverage performance across 18 markets mapped for 6 Service Providers’ vis-à-
vis its consumer perception on coverage as a network parameter