Operators could soon be tailoring their mobile data services to offer intelligent solutions to common device frustrations that involved not just the network, but the device itself.
Mobile data solutions provider Tekelec identified top customer frustrations with smart phone use, including short battery life, weak connections, bill shock, being locked in to contracts, data caps and pop-up advertising at unwanted times based on operator feedback.
Director of strategy and innovation Mark Ventimiglia said operators would need to begin offering solutions to these problems that included the mobile device itself, rather than just the mobile network, to improve customer satisfaction, in order to differentiate themselves.
Competition between mobile data service providers was heating up, with cellular operators competing with Wifi operators and more, and it had gotten to the point where it was difficult to distinguish operators, Ventimiglia said. Many were trying to compete with each other on price, but this was not a sustainable option long term, since there would always be a lowest ‘floor’ beyond which operators could not go without losing money.
“At some point you need new differentiators, and it’s these services, these types of things that drive customer satisfaction that are really going to differentiate operators, we think, in the next couple of years to come.”
Involving mobiles in service offerings
Ventimiglia said services such as policy enforcement systems, or the systems which enforced of the rules an operator set up to create and enforce business in their network (for instance, a tiering plan of gold, silver and bronze customers, determining how much bandwidth and what services each tier would get), should include the mobile device itself.
Many of the use cases Tekelec had worked on that were driven towards improving customer satisfaction and the ability of the operator to generate revenue needed the involvement of the mobile device and the network, since the handset had unique information about what a user was doing at any given time and the conditions of the network, Ventimiglia said.
One example was looking at battery life extension, where an operator could help preserve battery life by sending information to the device about what was happening in the network, he said.
“That information may actually help to give the device rules that it can use to preserve battery life based on certain network conditions…even just as simple as, okay the network’s very congested in this particular area so move to WiFi if you can.”
This kind of tailored service would generate revenue for the operator and also improve customer satisfaction, and were where operators needed to move in the next few years, Ventimiglia said.
“We’re seeing this trend in the form of operators having to make this move from data providers to digital lifestyle providers where they’re really providing a whole suite of services and offerings for their customers to create this high quality of experience and this very seamless digital lifestyle for their subscribers.”
More variety in contracts
Tailoring mobile data services in this way would see more variety in contract offerings, Ventimiglia said.
“So it’s certainly up to the operators whether they want to take these types of features and create new contracts or new types of bundles…but what we’re really doing…is giving the operators the flexibility to exercise those options.”
Implementation of such services would see new features, products and offerings which would improve customer experience, he said, including things like having an app that showed the best contract offerings based on their current plan and usage patterns, and the ability to change these via the app immediately, he said.