Android Smartphones Costing Carriers US$2 Billion Yearly

by: JoseNovember 4, 2011
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New research from WDS shows that global wireless carriers may have to spend as much as US$2 billion each year to maintain Android smartphones. The details of these findings are included in WDS‘s latest whitepaper in the Enlightened Knowledge Series entitled “Controlling the Android.”

The report discusses how wireless network providers can survive in the Android ecosystem. Wireless Data Services (WDS) is a firm that’s into the customer experience business, specializing on wireless telecommunications.

The research made a comparison between the iPhone devices, the Blackberry phones, the Windows Phone 7 devices, and Android phones. The Android phones turned out to have the highest rate of hardware failures making it costly for wireless carriers who subsidize these phones.

The firm analyzed 600,000 technical support calls over the last 12 months and found out that Android devices have 12.6% hardware failure rate.  This is followed by Windows Phone 7, which got 9.3%, iPhone at 8%, and BlackBerry at 5.5%.

WDS pointed out that Google’s business model of opening Android to manufacturers made it hard for them to standardize hardware specifications, unlike Apple and Research in Motion which make their own hardware for the iPhone and BlackBerry. In turn, this has contributed to the higher failure rate of an Android phone.

Android had brought the smartphone to the masses, and WDS sees this as another factor that leads to the higher hardware failure rate of Android devices. The affordable but poorly built devices have contributed to the high failure rate.

With 35 OEMs, Android increased its market share to 57%. This increase has been boosted by makers like Samsung, HTC, and Sony Ericsson. WDS had considered this figure to be a game changer.

Android seems like a costly device for wireless carriers, but with these devices selling like hotcake, soon enough they should be able to find a way to balance things.

  • Anamika

    When you mean “global wireless carriers” is this just USA? In India we call the manufactures not carriers for any repairs.

  • Eng. Paydrow

    Chart says “hardware related calls as a percantage of all technical support calls”. Lets stress in the part where it says AS A PERCENTAGE OF ALL TECHNICAL SUPPORT CALLS. It shouldn’t surprise you that android has more calls since it also sells more phones. What is really worrying here is that windows phone 7 and blackberry, having such a little portion of the market compared to Android and iOS, amount to so high percentages of the support calls.

    Think of it like this, to normalize these numbers they should be dividing the above percentages by the percentage of the market that each platform has. This would yield a much more accurate representation of the hardware problems of each and without looking at actual numbers I’m sure Android and iOS would be very close and beat Blackberry and WP7 by a very wide margin.

  • Anonymous

    Apple FUD galore.