Android Smartphones Costing Carriers US$2 Billion Yearly

November 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.

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