Same mobiles, but those sold in India work less efficiently

Ever wondered how different two identical mobiles from a manufacturer are? We’ve all seen it and (likely) thought it was a one-off.

But, as it happens, it is not the case. A recent study has found that operational variances in smartphones sold in India are much higher than their counterparts sold elsewhere in the globe.

Conducted by the Broadband India Forum (BIF) along with telecom audit and analytics company Phimetrics, the study tested operational variances in smartphones across the premium, mid-range and low-priced categories in multiple markets, including India.

Its findings can best be said startling, for, it said, “Global operational variance bands in smartphones are +/- 10 per cent. India operational variance bands are in the region of +/- 27 per cent, thereby impacting customer experience significantly.”

The variance that was measured across four key operational parameters – download speeds, upload speeds, video buffer time and web browsing delay – may potentially cause $30 billion loss to the ever-growing Indian Internet economy by 2020, the study says.

What is astonishing is the fact that smartphone firms find it acceptable to sell such products in India. For instance, if a person buys two identical mobile phones from a sole manufacturer at the same time, chances are s/he would end up getting models that are poles apart in performance despite costing the same.

Customers are completely unaware of this blatant rip-off. The study says customers do not know that device and network performances are inter-linked and not all devices will deliver at the same level of efficiency under similar network conditions.

For the test, the members who conducted the study did it under similar network conditions to highlight the operational variances.

Summing up its findings, the study said, “Operational variance of India’s top selling smartphone models is in the region of 30 per cent while that of premium smartphones is in the range of 15 per cent.” The smartphone models were selected from top global device manufacturers.

It begs the question as to why global manufacturers deem it okay for an Indian to be able to buy a mobile that may or may not perform better and have a difference of 30 per cent. The same is, for reasons known only to them, not okay abroad.

Further, these devices affecting the Internet economy is another issue that needs to be dealt with. ‘Total delays experienced due to poor performing devices was seen to be 25,000 man-years and the potential loss to the Internet economy (2020 projections) is estimated to be around $30 billion,’ the study surmised, leading to speculations on whether smartphone manufacturers value India as they claim to.

It must be noted that India is second only to the US in the smartphone market and it overtook North America in Q2 shipments this year.

Praveen Kumar S