Around The World

Posted: July 13th, 2012 | Author: OSS Team | Filed under: Around the World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Why Are MVNOs So Hot Right Now? Thank the Carriers

The number of mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) nearly died out in the past decade due to over-segmentation. Today, however, they are making an astounding recovery by reselling bundled voice and data services at affordable prices. According to GigaOM journalist Kevin Fitchard, “MVNOs are thriving because the big network operators are letting them.”

Historically, the larger operators made it difficult for MVNOs to take advantage of their data networks. They would charge prohibitive rates and force partners to pay for megabytes up front. But the market has recently changed, and operators like AT&T and T-Mobile are selling more airtime, while others are working directly with MVNOs to craft plans in exchange for a percentage of revenue. There are pros and cons to working with each operator, but it’s clear this shift is benefitting MVNOs.

The trend, however, hasn’t been as good for operators who risk losing their competitive advantage. The article points out that they, most likely, either feel forced to cooperate or are trying to reap the wholesale benefits of selling to MVNOs. Ultimately, these types of customised offerings and bouquet of service options benefit customers that now have more choices when it comes to selecting their network operators.

Moving Customers to Tiers

Data capacity and bandwidth constraints continue to be a major concern for communications service providers (CSPs).  According to Cisco, the consumption of over-the-top (OTT) video is predicted to quadruple by 2016, at which point more than 1.2 million minutes worth of video will be travelling through the Internet every second. Additionally, as smartphone quality increases so too does their use for bandwidth-intensive activity, like video streaming. And as users are increasingly becoming data-centric, CSPs must figure out the most effective method for implementing controls on usage.

Some operators, like Comcast, are offering tiered data services to manage the network. While this may be a viable option, it’s also likely that subscribers will push back on this change in plan. However, keeping customers satisfied could simply come down to the variety of tiers a provider is offering like charging based on the type of data used instead of the volume, or paying more for priority data during peak hours. Ultimately, CSPs have the ability to differentiate diverse types of data in ways that they never have before. This means more targeted services and the potential to really stand out in the market.

What options other than tiered pricing do you think can be effective?

Airlines & Telecom Companies Are Best At Facebook Page Customer Service

A recent study revealed telecom and airline industries are tops when it comes to providing customer service on Facebook. T-Mobile and Sony Mobile were the most active brands in responding to customers and prospects, while telecom companies showed their customer-centricity by replying to 60.4% of user posts between March and May of this year.

This is crucial as Conversocial, a social media tracking site, indicated in a recent study that 88% of consumers are less likely to buy from companies that ignore complaints on Facebook. It’s clear customer service should play a key role for CSPs not just on social media channels, but also as a standard practise throughout the business. For instance, CSPs can tap into the customer data they have on hand and determine – at an individual level – who to engage with, the right message to use, and the right time to do so. They can also monitor for issues within the network and proactively reach out to customers– before they head to Facebook to address the issue, the CSP has already responded. Now that’s customer service!

Mobile World Congress Recap: Informa Telecoms & Media Webinar Highlights

Posted: March 9th, 2012 | Author: Ulla Koivukoski | Filed under: Events, Telecom Trends | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

There’s been much buzz around last week’s Mobile World Congress, and Comptel can attest to the thought-provoking discussions and ideas that were generated at the show. Analyst firm Informa Telecoms & Media recently held a webinar recapping the main themes and hot topics from Barcelona.

One key takeaway was the emergence of global players including over-the-top (OTT) providers, card networks and device manufacturers. According to Informa, these players stole the headlines and are now dominating the agenda for the telecom industry, as operators are becoming their local partners and distributors. They went on to say that with OTT players, operators must strike a balance and find a way to work together, but just how they will effectively do so is still in the works. An example of this balance coming to fruition is Facebook’s decision to work collaboratively with operators in the billing process; however, the keynote sessions indicated that there is still some friction in the operator/OTT player relationship. For instance, OTT providers are generating revenue by using traffic from operators’ networks, which is a sore source of contention.

Further, Informa noted that operators were focusing less on technology and more on the role of pricing to appeal to consumers. Some of the interesting discussions were around the concept of moving away from unlimited pricing models toward those that are much more value-centric. At the show and over the past year in fact, there’s been much talk about this change, but some operators are struggling with implementing it largely because of challengers still pushing the unlimited model. However, other operators have revealed that a successful tiered plan is possible if the pricing is structured correctly and the value proposition is effectively communicated to consumers.

In all, Mobile World Congress was a great meeting of the minds, and we’re certainly looking forward to seeing how these developments unfold in the coming year. Which trends did you find most interesting at the show?

A Few More Conference Highlights from Day Two

Posted: May 26th, 2011 | Author: Steve Hateley | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments »

The rain held off for the walk into the Dublin Convention Centre on day two of TM Forum’s Management World 2011, and with no sign of royal or presidential visitors, at least everything outside the centre seemed relatively normal and calm. Inside the centre, however, it was a different story. The buzz that was so evident on day one was still around, and at 9:00 a.m., the uphill escalators were packed with attendees eager to listen to the interesting keynote sessions in the auditorium.

The morning’s keynote on innovative players and future-looking directions for the industry was very well attended. Nick Ogden, CEO of Voice Commerce, gave a “Jobs-esque”, abstractive guide through his history and experiences within the communications industry and its paralleled evolution alongside device and subscriber innovation. The presentation culminated with an extraordinary vision of introducing ATMs in the home kitchen! Actually (and thankfully), it was a clever association to the average user’s need for round the clock access to his or her money, and how the other round-the-clock appendage (the smartphone) could be used to access it more freely.

Facebook's Colm Long

  • Over 500 million users worldwide (during any 30-day period)
  • More than 50% returning on a daily basis
  • The largest photo upload site on the Internet
  • More than 30 billion pieces of content shared every month
  • #1 application on smartphones

Yes, you guessed it—FACEBOOK.
As an avid social media enthusiast, I was keen to see the next eagerly awaited keynote presenter—Colm Long, head of Facebook’s EMEA operations. (Even if you are not a fan of Facebook, you have to admit that the facts are astounding.)

Colm explained that most common photo upload sites are very narrow in their focus compared to Facebook’s features. He pointed out that although they offer the ability to share photos, they are still restricted to closed user groups defined by the user, but for true social interaction, it needed to be much more open, and the mechanisms created within Facebook enable that. Tagging was a truly innovative creation that empowers the “socially-sharing generation”.

On another common topic, Colm highlighted the gaming industry, which is essentially fragmented in terms of the consoles used and (other than Xbox Live) the dependence of players to be co-located. Facebook’s exposure of Mafia Wars, Farmville, Cityville and countless other social gaming experiences have proven to be extremely popular! The aim has always been for these games to be “social by design”—Farmville and Cityville have a run rate of 70 million+ users, where people will buy “virtual nothingness” just to be social! What is key, however, is that the evolution of this string of social gaming has unwittingly created a massive demographically segmented target audience for direct marketing—although Facebook are not so keen to overly exploit the monster it has created.

The innovative technology being leveraged within Facebook has now started to make its way into commercial models, with the embedding of social techniques to create lucrative opportunities for Zuckerberg and crew, without exploiting their ever-growing subscriber numbers. Giantnerd, Ticketmaster, Eventbrite, ticketfly & GAP… are all leveraging the instant personalisation techniques. There’s a delicate balance between target marketing, personalisation and turning users off the Facebook application. It’s important to understand the user through interpreting his or her selections and navigation choices, plus his or her subscribed interests and social groups. It’s about tailoring and optimising the customer experience—a theme repeatedly seen here at Management World. But what’s next for these Facebook giants? Are they planning transformation into MVNOs?

“Not part of our strategy…we don’t want to become a 100,000 person company,” Colm stated. “We would rather partner and focus on our core competencies, of course.”

How about their revenues? How do they actually make their money? (The question we are all curious about!) 
Revenues come from traditional methods, such as banners and adwords, but working with BIG brands is a better approach (see above). Application developers who credit Facebook every time they get a transaction done via their application is a good source of income for them, and they expect e-commerce to potentially hold some interesting opportunities, too.

Looking forward to sampling more presentation delights during day three.