White Paper
White Paper
White Paper
A PhiMetrics study on smartphone battery life performance variance on handsets, services & operators.


The Battery life paradox
Over 50% of smartphone users across the world single out battery life as their most important purchase decision. This is an increase in its importance from 35% last year, when battery life was one of other important factors like OS and screen size. However, most complain that battery life appears to be reducing each year!

In fact advances in technology for smartphones and general improvement in network quality have meant that battery life has improved considerably compared to the past years. However, higher speeds, 24X7 social media applications and bandwidth-hungry videos have led to dramatic increases in consumption of battery – exponential compared to the incremental improvements made in battery technology.


So, while awaiting for its technology to catch up with consumption, are there other factors that can reduce battery consumption? The focus of this paper is on checking the various parameters which affect battery performance and assess the impact of each of these factors.
Customer Experience Scenarios
Methodology:
Top 5 handsets (top-selling models from Apple, Samsung, Blackberry, HTC & Sony) are chosen. These devices are fitted with SIM cards of both Etisalat and DU. All popular services like Voice, Video and Data are performed in regular 3 hour intervals and pre and post battery conditions are assessed.
Top Applications like YouTube, Facebook, WhatsApp, Viber are also tested at regular intervals. Tests are conducted in various stationary locations (popular indoor areas), in metros and over 4000km of drives across the UAE. Results gathered are normalized against the samples of data collected in over 15 city-wide studies conducted by PhiMetrics over the past quarter to determine degree of impact of each variable.


Summary:
We found that 7 factors impacted battery life significantly with minor changes in these factors impacting battery drainage by as much as 15% - 60%. Surprisingly, factors such as stationary v/s traveling at 60mph or leaving Wi-Fi on do not impact battery life by more than 5%.



In addition to the individual variances of these factors, relative importance of any one factor reduces variance impact of other factors. The chart above highlights the 7 key factors in descending order of importance w.r.t. each other.
UAE insights on other factors affecting battery life
a. Quality of network - over 15% variance
For the same smartphones with the same usage, good network conditions enhance battery life by as much as 15-20%, compared to poor network conditions. Figure below shows the % of poor, average and good network areas in key locations and roads across Dubai & Abu Dhabi. Based on this extrapolation:
  • A DU smartphone user in Dubai is likely to get an average of 2-3% better battery life than an average Etisalat user.
  • Conversely across the rest of the UAE, the average Etisalat smartphone user is likely to get an average of 5% better battery life than the average DU user



b. Wi-Fi vs LTE vs 3G - over 30% variance
Until recently, operator strategy has been to use 'Wi-Fi' to offload traffic from its 3G network. This strategy has been economical for both the operator and the consumer. For identical usage on identical smartphone, WiFi networks consume 33% less battery than 3G networks - thereby enhancing battery life when the consumer is indoors.
However, with the rapid deployment of LTE networks, there will be a shift in operator 'off-loading' strategy. Consequently, battery life will suffer. Additionally, faster speeds on LTE will lead to higher bandwidth consumption by customers - thereby exacerbating the problem further. There are differences when comparing Wifi vs Network technology (Wifi consumption is higher than 3G and 4G, but 3G and 4G have a similar consumption).

c. 'Apps' - 30% variance among popular apps
We tested the top 5 Apps used across consumers in the UAE. Variances as high as almost 40% between WhatsApp and Viber were found. Variances are likely to be higher as one samples top 100 Apps.
It is also important to notice that our study was limited to single application usage. Simulations where two or more applications were running in parallel, impacted battery life exponentially.



d. Voice Only v/s Data Only Usage - greater than 60% variance
Applications, closely followed by Data, Video and VOIP, are the biggest battery consumers when compared with Voice. Idle mode (with Wi-Fi on and background updates for top 5 Apps) consumes least battery.

e. VoIP v/s Voice: 50% variance
VoIP consumes almost twice as much battery than Voice, which is consistent with the fact that VOIP runs on Data packages.
Operators who are betting on VoIP replacing voice revenues need to be aware of the drastic battery life implications for the same.


f. Consumption at 10% battery v/s fully charged: 40% variance
Battery life consumption is not linear and varies by phone. The smartphones analyzed consume least power when battery life is less than 10% compared to medium battery life. This could also be because battery indicators of different models may trigger low alarms at different thresholds. Note - this test is conducted using same applications and test cases throughout.



g. Differences across top models: 40% variance between best and median models
Of the 5 models tested, the best battery life (based on a combined usage of different services) belongs to the HTC M8, while the worst is for the BlackBerry 9900.


Revenue Impact
Minor shifts in smart-phone subsidies, better routing for certain apps, modifications to network parameters could result in increasing battery life by over 30 minutes daily - leading to ARPU increases of over 5 AED. Detailed revenue model available upon request.
Notes:
Duration Tested: Smart phone testing conducted in months of May & June 2014 across Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed Rd & base-lined against UAE-wide benchmarking drive conducted by PhiMetrics during April 2014
Models used: BB9900, HTC1 M8, Sony Experia Z, iPhone 5s, Samsung Galaxy S4 (top models sold and latest popular handsets - 1 per top manufacturer)

Methodology of testing:
Top 5 handsets (top-selling models from Apple, Samsung, Blackberry, HTC & Sony) are chosen. These devices are fitted with SIM cards of both Etisalat and DU. All popular services like Voice, Video and Data are performed in regular 3 hour intervals and pre and post battery conditions are assessed.
Top Applications like YouTube, Facebook, WhatsApp, Viber are also tested at regular intervals. Tests are conducted in various stationary locations (popular indoor areas), in metros and over 4000km of drives across the UAE. Results gathered are normalized against the samples of data collected in over 15 city-wide studies conducted by PhiMetrics over the past quarter to determine degree of impact of each variable.

Locations include:
  • Dubai Mall
  • Mall of Emirates
  • Ibn Battuta Mall
  • Deira City Centre
  • Burjuman Metro Station
  • Abu Dhabi mall
  • Abu Dhabi Marina Mall
  • Al Wahada Mall
  • Ferrari World
  • Khalidiyah Mall


Outdoor tests include 4000 km in Dubai & Abu Dhabi (including Sheikh Zayed Rd & Emirates Rd). All test cases run in a continuous loop during outdoor testing.

Methodology of scoring:
Battery Life before and after each test case is collected for every phone model. User scenarios are created based on PhiMetrics proprietary 'Walking in the Shoes of the Customer' scenarios which replicate user performance across 3 broad categories (high voice user, high data user, medium user)

Data Sources:
Alcatel Lucent report:
http://resources.alcatel-lucent.com/webForm/cwf317

Top Apps list in UAE:
http://www.distimo.com/leaderboards/apple-app-store-for-iphone/united-arab-emirates/top-overall/free
http://www.distimo.com/leaderboards/google-play-store/united-states/top-overall/free

Top Phones in UAE:
http://www.tra.gov.ae/

Revenue Model Information: Available on Request

About PhiMetrics
PhiMetrics Technologies is a leading independent audit company, globally specializing in Telecom Audits, Analytics & Advisory Services. PhiMetrics regularly audits and tracks customer experience of top operators globally.

Contact:
Mohit Lohani
mohit.lohani@phimetrics.com
+919811000010