Our Analysis on various types of mobile consumers and what Indian 4G operators can learn from it

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If I use 4G/LTE/VoLTE on my mobile, that doesn't mean I can presume everyone is using the latest and fastest technology available in the market. Likewise if I use 2G/3G on my mobile that doesn't mean no one is ahead of me in using the latest technology available. If I feel it in any of the above ways its just like a cat drinking milk with eyes closed”. I certainly believe that 4G/LTE alone will not foment a revolution. Several other factors and real scenarios come into picture to change the digital scape of a country and 4G acts as a catalyst.


*Note : Generally, I always include a note in the end, but for this story I felt a need to include it in the beginning as I intend everyone to read with an open mind. Its not about you or me, it's about a complete eco system in a competing and complex market especially in a country like India. Everyone have their own use case, neither I'm defining it here nor suggesting to follow the same. So, the way one use a facility/technology or service is upto them as long as one comply with rules and regulations laid down. I feel this analysis of mine is going to touch the sentimental, technological, analytical, marketing and various other use cases that come into picture in our daily life. So, there might be chances you may or may not get hurt with any of my observations which I have analyzed taking many real life scenarios into consideration. I may or may not be wrong with my observations but it's just a part of my analysis. I have also used quotes in my analysis when and where I felt required, I have already used one above. My analysis is only valid in the current market scenario with available technology and use cases, it may not be valid if any of the dependent scenarios change.

**Views expressed are author's own. So, go ahead and continue reading...

If we categorize who all are using mobile phones and how does their use case differs with technology, my segregation goes the below way. I have drilled down various use cases that we come across in daily life starting from the most youngest to the future ahead.

"What comes easy won't last"

Student :

Some students don't posses a mobile and they are not in our radar now. As we know most of the schools and colleges don't encourage the usage of mobiles, still there are cases where students end up using mobiles be at school or home. It's literally hard to comfortably use a mobile at school/college and this scenario can be neglected. If we consider the use case at home -

Under parents supervision : Their usage/recharge/bill is monitored and taken care by parents. Their usage is also under supervision. So, based on the chances how much data/voice will it be possible for these category of users be able to sum up? So, for this category, mobile is barely a means of communication/education.

No parents supervision :
If the technology is properly utilized for genuine purposes, well and good. If not everyone knows where the results end up. There are also cases where certain students possess self awareness without supervision, where technology helps to yield positive results only.

So, as these category of users rely financially on parents, a certain portion of expenditure goes from their pocket money which hardly makes any sense or gives a scope for them to choke the networks. If these users focus on choking 4G or any other network who will focus on their primary aspect - studies and everyone knows where they end up if they deviate from that. There is a certain generic category of users as well in this segment which is also discussed.

So, 4G/Unlimited doesn't make any sense to these category of users for now and I'm very well aware of e-education systems.

Part time employee :

As the name suggests, these category of users have multiple tasks to handle in their daily routine. So, it really feels hard to adjust their typical day schedule and juice up some benefits from operators. So, one can guess what might be their consumption pattern on a monthly basis.


Typical IT job :

Case 1 – In a Project

ODC - Restricted -
A typical case where employees are not allowed to carry camera / high end mobiles to the work area on reasons of security and data privacy. These users end up spending an average of 9 hours a day with basic ordinary mobile just for communication purpose. Will 4G/3G come into rescue and play a major role in their routine?

ODC – Non Restricted -

Now, lets assume luckily these are some kind of users who were allocated to a non restricted ODC project and do you think they end up having hours of fun watching HD videos and streaming HD music, making calls on VoLTE, playing games on their mobile? Already large IT giants with very tight budgets are finding it difficult to manage corporates in a cost effective way. Do you think any company will end up paying in return for having some fun at desk? If you end up being one you are lucky.

Case 2 – In Bench Pool

Well, so you are enjoying your buffer period. A question pops up - how many days/months ?  No surprise I have come across scenarios where employees ended up on bench for more than a year. Just as a good-word, it's not a best fit company, better change it first. No responsible company will let their buffer employees without an up-skilling task or training code assigned. So, how can any user end up enjoying most of their day daily life with the latest technology?

And after an all day hectic work, strained eyes do you think these users will be able to squeeze up large chunks of data streaming HD videos while returning back to home? Anyone will end up saying - go get a life!

The way these users commute, work stress, leisure time etc. come into picture to define their usage patterns. There may be minor deviations in the usage patterns where one ends up watching a video or uploading stuff on social media on a minor scale but not in a way ending up using GBs in their daily life.

Just to keep noted these users contribute a large number of our corporate enterprise segment.

Miscellaneous Cases

1. Media : So, here comes the segment of users who have a power to influence or easily communicate their ideas. These users extend from various media sources like television, radio, newspaper, magazines, social media etc. Being in a position to educate users via various channels on the latest advancements in the technology it doesn't mean that they end up using the latest technology all the time*.

Suppose If I give my use case as an example - I myself don't end up being connected to 4G all the time. Because I really don't find a need of it when the phone is idle. I am concerned with my battery backup** (I expect it to last till I start back to home from work and I have many issues to take care, rather than to concentrate on carrying a charger/backup always along with me) and I don't need >2-3Mbps all the time on my mobile. My purpose of voice call is served , connectivity via Email/IM is served and if in case I want to watch HD video then I will change to 3G/4G/VoLTE and then change the network mode back again.

Likewise many categories of users from media have their own respective day to day tasks to handle and one can't keep on squeezing up or using GBs of data all the time like it appears in a 4G Speed Test or Experience Article. If in case you are ending up completely with them; time to think what are you spending your time on. A reporter always strive to give the best of knowledge and news to his/her readers and sometimes or always end up using technology to convey the same. Any Media person can stream a video which they want to report live and they end up using the fastest available technology. This doesn't mean they do it 24/7 every time. So, come out of misconceptions and any over hyped media cases, and yes there will be hype when there is excitement.

**Depends on phone model and make again.

2. Travelers : As the name suggests they are fond of traveling. Like you or me they may or may not be into technology stuff. Mobile is a multipurpose device, used for communication/music/camera/compass/video player and the list goes on. Again it is up-to individual's perception of each use case. To consider in general why do people travel ? To enjoy, have fun, explore places, watch the nature's beauty. And is it reasonable to think they end up watching HD videos on 3G/4G Network all along the journey ? I assume these users have something else apart from that, music/photos and their main purpose is to communicate during their journey and stay connected. Though there can be instances where people end up broadcasting a live video or posting pictures on social media as and when they visit a place How much data you think they consume to serve their purpose and in the current smartphone scenario do you think they will continuously end up always on 4G ?

3.Farmers : Kudos to their service to the Nation, I'm still able to survive. There are stories to read and applaud that so and so farmer is utilizing the e-farming techniques. I really feel happy for that, but in the end, they are educated and use technology only to serve their purpose. We hear lots of stories on farmers every day in media, do you think everyone is same ? And in a very tech-savy scenario how much data you think these users consume ? Poor souls don't know about torrents or some free unlimited offer which is going on in the market.

4. Road/Rail/Air/Water Transportation employees :

Ignoring Air/Water category employees from the scope of discussion.

I opted for road transport to travel and definitely I can't expect the bus driver to watch youtube/Netflix and drive through the way right ? Similar case with railways. Imagine the employee strength of these two categories of users all across India and their life after work with family but not with technology. It doesn't matter to them on what G network they latch on, all they need is communication to be connected. If in case they end up some entertainment on mobile, that quantity of usage is not going to be a mind blowing number to discuss.

5. Teachers :

We expect our children to be taught by good teachers. while there are exclusions, how can we expect a teacher to be good if they end up having fun with their mobiles without preparation and teaching the best? Moreover, there is competition in schools as well, classrooms are now a days equipped with cameras to track activity in classrooms as well. Also most teachers are not even allowed to sit in those long duration classes. So, they end up relaxing after their classes. Imagine the strength of these users across India and can you tell me how they end up with mobile phones and bulky data download use cases?

6. Sales Person : As the name suggests and so as the job. Their incentives depends on their average sales per day/week/month. These people rely on communication to serve their job purpose and not the vice versa. So, now it's left to you to estimate their usage.

7. All general govt/private employees : Everyone has a daily routine, tasks and targets to look after and in the end a family after work. They spend a very less considerable amount of time with digital media. A couple of songs for relaxation, a movie for fun and an IM for communication - a very small scope of mobile. Even if this large chunk of users end up using VoLTE for communication/voice call  what quantity of data they end up using?

8. Film-stars : Everyone is aware of this use case and I don't see a need to reiterate it again here.

9. Top level Corporate heads : They hardly find time to enjoy peacefully. As an example : If I am not wrong, Mark Zuckerberg don't facebook all the time though himself being a founder. He will have many other  things to look after rather  than just browsing facebook. So, these users expect quality more than quantity and they are not attracted towards the free stuff.

Miscellaneous Cases

1. Love Birds/Couples : Smiles and chuckles to all those birds around ;) These users are hardcore voice users followed by IM. They are worried on their battery backups as they speak/IM a lot , thanks to whatsapp. So, these kind of users end up with bulky voice usage and hardly spend more on data**.

**Relationship duration, financial ability and lot of other aspects come into picture.

2. Newly married girl with her family : No way to leave this use case out of the scope of our analysis. Every girl miss her family after marriage and literally they communicate via voice all the new happenings in their life with more usage on voice. A new phase of life, family, home when everything is new in her life, not a chance left to share memories or happiness with her family - so what comes in use are those bulky voice minutes. So, if it is from abroad may be via skype/data which is out of the scope of our discussion now. It's hardly in few cases girls concentrate on technical aspects and shift to data for any usage avoiding voice.

** So, again different situations act on the scope of this use case.

3. Generic Family Use cases :

Home Maker : How can an elderly woman or mother in the current case use voice or data on mobile? If educated and know how to use a smartphone - A number of voice calls in a day based on her social activity, IM or Video Calls. Sufficient for them to enjoy the technology. If not educated they end up making just voice calls or even limit to attending calls. They are neither bulk users nor greedy downloaders.

**Again various personal interests and life style matters on these users.

5. Aged :

-Aged Educated : These are the rare group of users we come across on social media now and then. They love to be connected and enjoy the technology. But how far their vision and energy supports them? So, they just use the basic internet services and how much data or voice usage you think these souls of inspiration can sum up?

-Aged Uneducated : A group of users who don't know how to independently use or access the features of a smartphone. Chances are more that these users end up using a basic handset for communication are more.

Also don't under estimate the capacity of these 2 category of users, they bill an average of 200-400 monthly based on financial situations. As these are the most elderly people, requests, suggestions or decisions go from these category of users and entire family will be in touch with them via phone calls.  

These group of users end up enjoying life by spending more time with their grand children, gardening or be fascinated with their grandchildren using the technology.

**Various conditions again can be taken into consideration.

Uncategorized Users : These are certain kind of users from varied use cases. May be educated, uneducated, employed, unemployed, students or whatever. They use something just for the sake of using even after their requirement is fulfilled. They just spend a considerable portion of their time to consume benefits. The usage of this category of users is left to the potential of those customers.

The future

We have an eye on wide array of use cases and IoT is one about the future. This is a technological advancement connecting daily activities of humans with non living things like cars/mobiles/coffee machines/watches/ACs etc. end up communicating with each other. IoT is a network of physical devices connected together.

Just FYI : Current LTE mobile networks are not a feasible/good option to connect IoT. low-power WAN networks (LP-WAN) such as LoRa or Sigfox which will work alongside traditional 3G/4G networks need to be implemented for vast use cases of IoT device eco system. They require less amounts of data. We will discuss them in coming days on TT.

Some Generalized Experiences :

  1. There are also many users working in many corporates who don't even know what is the difference between 2G/3G/4G/VoLTE and still end up using them. All they just see end of the day is whether their purpose is being served or not.
  2. So, if you show me some fancy numbers 40-60Mbps and ask if I'm excited, Yes, I'm and everyone will. But if I cross check my daily usage scenarios with such speeds on my mobile, I end up having no use case. To make a flawless HD video call or stream a HD video on my mobile I don't require such speeds. So, the false illusions of speed on mobile come into picture.
  3. With many smartphones in the market warming up so badly on using them on 4G, no end user will be using mobile services continuously on them.
  4. Battery drain is also another major problem to continuously latch on to 4G and enjoy services. Though theoretically LTE should provide a decent battery life, in real case this is not happening. So, any customer instead of focusing on peacefully using technology or benefits are shifting their focus more on carrying a power back and charging their devices to juice up usage.
  5. How can I presume that the other person is with a high speed network/Data pack and sufficient battery power to make a call over data ?
  6. Also with many recent studies coming up on "Increasing vision problems with Smartphone Screens", its upto individual's perception on how they use their mobile.

So, there is a large group of individuals apart from you/me/media using mobile phones for their respective use cases. 

Digital India Vision is not about an already well connected individual getting chance to download GBs of data, its something else and in my opinion its more about Inventing technology with an experience of using it.

It matters - Just think of your children or future working in designing the next G technology, rather than watching a video for free using the next generation G.

So, considering all the use cases above; Seamless Connectivity, High Speed Mobile Data, Bulk data in GBs for entertainment and novelty cases are different scenarios. It's so pity to see people mixing up the mainline use cases with novelty use cases to serve special interests.

Dear readers, what do you feel about my analysis on this topic? You can tweet me at @Srikapardhi

I have also skipped many detailed explanations/use cases or reasons in some cases to avoid a really lengthy article.

"Revealing too much leaves you with nothing"

**Note : Only use case of mobiles are discussed in this analysis and no WI-Fi hotspots/tethering situations are considered.

Reported By

Telecom Analyst

Passionately following the Indian #Telecom Industry for over a decade from Business, Consumer and a Technical perspective. My primary focus area is Consumer & Digital Experience.

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