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

In this analysis, Opensignal analytics demonstrates that there is a correlation between the quality of users' mobile experience and operators' market shares in the majority of East, South and Southeast Asia. However, there are differences between operators' local market share and their national position. 

In Malaysian cities, for example, if any of the mobile operators — Celcom, Digi, Maxis, U Mobile, Unifi and Yes — 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 Malaysia. We found that users who changed mobile operators have a worse mobile experience before switching than our users' typical experience on their original network provider. Now we see the impact of different quality of mobile experiences on the overall market share of operators.

While multiple other factors likely play a role in customers' choice of mobile operator — including customer service, pricing and bundled offers — the correlation between the 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 Celcom, Digi, Maxis, U Mobile, Unifi and Yes across 15 Malaysian 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 above chart, 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 has a larger local active user share compared to its national Fair Share.
  • Under Fair Share: Where an operator has a smaller share compared to what we expect based on its national Fair Share, they are negative numbers. 
  • No clear difference: We haven't assigned an operator to either category where the difference between local and national user shares is lower than one percentage point.

In cities where an operator is Under Fair Share, the operator should leverage the 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: 

  • Celcom has a local user share of 2.2-4.9 percentage points Under Fair Share in Kuala Lumpur, Malacca, Johor Baharu, Seremban, Seberang Perai and Penang Island, and Shah Alam. However, in these six cities, Celcom users has the best Games Experience, Download and Upload Speed Experience. With targeted campaigns, Celcom could highlight its local superiority across those experience measures to increase its user share.
  • In Kuala Terengganu, Kota Kinabalu, Kuantan and Johor Baharu, Maxis is 1.7-5.2 percentage points Under Fair Share. But, in those locations, Maxis' Games Experience scores are competitive with the best. Also, Maxis is unbeaten on Download Speed Experience, Video Experience and Availability in Kuala Terengganu, Kota Kinabalu and Kuantan. In these cities Maxis 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, Digi has a much larger user share in Kota Kinabalu compared to its national average — 16.9 percentage points above the average. Therefore in Kota Kinabalu, Digi could leverage its superior Availability 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 the local strengths and weaknesses of Malaysia's five biggest operators — see above — each can design 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. 

  • Celcom and Digi: The newly merged telco can aim to strengthen its commercial execution because the majority of the 15 cities analyzed are Under Fair Share for both operators combined. Digi has eight cities in Under Fair Share vs. four in the Over Fair Share group, while Celcom has eight cities in the Under Fair Share and seven in the Over Fair Share group. In total, Celcom and Digi can use their network experience strengths to attack their rivals in 11 cities. Additionally, both the operators have some of the highest variances between their local and national shares — in the 3.8-3.9 percentage points range.
  • U Mobile: The operator can also use its network experience strengths to attack its rivals as well as defend its position. It has five cities Under Fair Share, and a further five are Over Fair Share. However, U Mobile has a slightly lower average variance between its local and national shares of three percentage points.
  • Maxis: Can focus on defending its local positions because it has six cities in the Over Fair Share group and four in the Under Fair Share. For Maxis, using mobile experience for retention marketing will help to hold onto local market shares.
  • Unifi: Can also focus on defending its local positions with three cities in the Over Fair Share group. Additionally, Unifi has Under Fair Share in Kuching, where it can use its strong Download Speed Experience to attack the competitors.
  • Yes: It has Under Fair Share in Kota Kinabalu and Kuching but lacks experience strengths compared to its rivals. If Yes makes network improvements, it could possibly attack its rivals to increase its share in these cities.

Local messages can help operators seize user-share opportunities

Previously, Opensignal data has proven that 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.