How Italian operators can leverage their local strengths in mobile experience to improve their user shares

In this new analysis, Opensignal analytics demonstrates there is a strong correlation between the quality of users’ mobile experience and European operators’ market shares. However, there are differences between operators’ local market share and their national position. 

In Italian cities, for example, if each of the four operators — Iliad, TIM, WindTre and Vodafone — take advantage of Opensignal local mobile experience analytics it will help to maximize their user shares and hence commercial returns. To succeed, operators must analyze different measures of mobile network experience across their footprint — including Games Experience, Video Experience, Download & Upload Speed Experience and Availability. Then, they must use the measures most suited to support their position in each city to achieve their local market share objectives. 

Previously, Opensignal analyzed how mobile experience helps to explain mobile subscriber churn in Italy. We found that users who changed mobile operators had a worse mobile experience before they switched than the typical experience observed by our users on their original network provider. Now we see the impact of different quality of mobile experience on the overall market share of operators.

For the first time, Opensignal has analyzed 86 European operators to investigate the importance of mobile network experience in understanding market share. We have compared operators’ active user share with two measures of mobile experience: Download Speed Experience, which represents the average download speed of users, and 4G Coverage Experience which is a measure of the extent of an operator’s network.

On both measures, Opensignal analytics show that there is a correlation between operators’ national mobile network experience and their active user share. The link is stronger for 4G Coverage Experience than it is for Download Speed Experience.

While multiple other factors likely play a role in customers’ choice of mobile operator — including customer service, pricing and bundled offers — the correlation between mobile experience and active user share is nevertheless clear. As a result, operators should take advantage of local mobile network experience analytics as a new actionable sales tool.

Looking at the position of Iliad, TIM, Vodafone and WindTre across 21 Italian cities we find their local active user share often varies compared with their national position. We consider their national share as the “Fair Share” which represents the benchmark share we expect them to observe locally. 

In the chart above we have plotted the difference between the local user share of each operator compared with the operator’s national Fair Share:

  • Over Fair Share: Positive numbers show that the operator had a larger local active user share compared to its national Fair Share.
  • Under Fair Share: Where an operator had a smaller share compared to what we expect based on its national Fair Share there are negative numbers. 
  • No clear difference:  We haven’t assigned an operator to either category where the difference between local and national user shares was lower than one percentage point.

In cities where an operator is Under Fair Share, the operator should use mobile experience to boost their user acquisition. By analyzing the experience categories in which they are ahead — Games Experience, Video Experience, Download & Upload Speed Experience or Availability — operators can target potential customers in-store, in direct marketing, or with tailored advertising.

For example: 

  • Vodafone in Venezia had a local user share 3.4 percentage points Under Fair Share. However, in Venezia Vodafone users had the best Video Experience, best Games Experience, best Download Speed Experience, and best Upload Speed Experience. With targeted campaigns, Vodafone could highlight its local superiority across those experience measures to increase its user share.
  • In Prato and Firenze Iliad was 7.9 and 7.5 percentage points Under Fair Share, respectively. But in both, Iliad’s Video Experience and Download Speed Experience scores were competitive with the best. Also, Iliad was unbeaten on Availability in Prato, and had the second best score in Firenze. In these cities Iliad could highlight its competitive mobile experience position to complement other customer messaging, such as around price or value for money.

Opensignal analytics can identify local opportunities where an operator is Under Fair Share, at greater granularity than we show here if required. Then, Opensignal can be the independent authoritative source for the quality of the local mobile experience to support operators’ customer acquisition.  

By looking at those cities where operators are Over Fair Share, operator marketing retention teams can use mobile network experience results to defend their market position. Additionally, where their network experience may be weaker, network teams can use Opensignal analytics to build an investment business case to improve it and defend their strong market share position. 

For example, TIM had a much larger user share in Firenze and Prato compared to its national average — 9.7 and 8.8 percentage points above the average, respectively. In these two cities, TIM could leverage its unbeaten Games Experience to defend against its competitors while it improves its competitive position in the other measures of the mobile network experience.


Operators have opportunities to leverage mobile experience to support commercial goals

Having built a clear picture of local strengths and weaknesses of Italy’s operators — see above — each can devise a strategy appropriate for their position. For example, each operator should adjust how it uses its mobile network experience strengths according to its situation in each city:

  • TIM: Can aim to strengthen its commercial execution because it was the only operator where the majority of the 21 cities analyzed were Under Fair Share with 13 vs six cities in the Over Fair Share group. TIM had the largest variance between its local and national shares — 4.2 percentage points difference on average — mostly driven by its negative scores across many Northern cities.
  • Vodafone: Is in a similar position to TIM and can also use its network experience strengths to attack its rivals. It had 10 cities Under Fair Share and just four were Over Fair Share. Yet Vodafone is different from TIM in one regard: it had the smallest average variance between its local and national shares of 2.3 percentage points.
  • WindTre: Can focus on defending its local positions because it had 12 cities in the Over Fair Share group and only four Under Fair Share. For WindTre, using mobile experience for retention marketing will help to hold onto local market shares.
  • Iliad: Is a relatively new player and has a challenger position. As such, simply being as good as more established rivals will help it attack in the eight cities where it’s Under Share and defend in the nine where it’s Over Fair Share.


Local messages can help operators seize user share opportunities

Across Europe, Opensignal data proves there is a correlation between mobile network experience and operator user share. But at a local city level there can be significant differences in share which operators can exploit using an understanding of the mobile network experience of users.

By analyzing where operators’ user shares differ the most from their national user share, operators can identify opportunities to improve poor customer uptake or solidify their foothold in a market. And by leveraging their local mobile experience strengths, operators can target  local users who will be more receptive to tailored messages that represent their real local experience, and so maximize user share opportunities.