India’s mobile operators failing to please – Survey

A survey of customer satisfaction with mobile services in India has revealed a public that is becomming increasingly incensed with poor service in the world’s fastest growing mobile market.

The survey by Voice and Data – a magazine covering telecommunications in India – suggests that satisfaction levels have fallen below a benchmark set by the country’s regulator.

According to Voice and Data, the average satisfaction rate among the country’s top 10 mobile operators fell to 88.2 per cent in 2006 from 90.7 the year before. 90 per cent is the benchmark level set by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

Only two of the top ten operators managed to stay above the 90 per cent benchmark: Bharti Airtel with 90.2 per cent and Tata Indicom at 90.36 per cent.

The drop in customer satisfaction is largely due to overburdened networks, according to Voice and Data, which suggests that the problem is worst in the country’s largest cities where services are increasingly unreliable.

James Moore, analyst at’s parent, Informa Telecoms and Media says poor customer service may well result in a lot of compaints but people will stick with mobile, regardless. “I don’t think it will cause people to stop being mobile,” says Moore, “and it won’t have a huge impact on growth. This is a problem for the operators who risk retention issues if they don’t invest in the networks.”

Moore says much of the problems have arisen due to constraints on spectrum. “There isn’t enough spectrum to go around which is why a lot of calls are dropped.”

While Moore lays the responsibility firmly at the dor of operators, he argues that India’s phenomenal growth rate “is a main factor… they [operators] simply can’t keep up.”

TRAI did not respond to press enquiries.

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