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Archive for March, 2011

More on #M2M: It’s a Long-Term Game

Written by GoS on . Posted in News

Momentum around M2M is certainly growing. But, there are many question marks about how the market will evolve. It’s not just the enormous potential that captures attention: there are issues such as profit margin, distribution, roaming, and more, as a recent article in Total Telecom online makes clear.

While there is disagreement regarding margin potential, there are question marks about the cost of supporting complex M2M applications, particularly in cases where devices roam between countries and networks. Although much of the flood of M2M data will be neither real-time nor mission critical, there will be a significant proportion that will be both. This means that QoS guarantees, SLAs and the like will become as important in the M2M world as they are in traditional mobile networks.

It’s also likely that higher-value applications will have greater QoS and service guarantee attributes. In order to support, for example, tracking of medical devices on a global basis, network infrastructure needs to be in place. And, all M2M devices will need to be provisioned successfully on activation, even if they have been dormant for considerable periods of time. High-margin applications will need QoS guarantees because they may be more important, but lower margin applications will also need QoS guarantees because the impact of support costs in thin margins could be ruinous.

Visibility and Control: Key Weapons in the Fight Against Churn

Written by GoS on . Posted in News

Recent research from Analysis Mason suggests that churn in mobile networks has decreased recently. A number of factors have been identified, such as price stability and longer contract duration.

However, the author goes on to warn that mobile operators cannot afford to be complacent about this situation. Access to content and applications is suggested as a likely future catalyst towards churn. But, it’s not just going to be access to the content and services per se – there will very likely be a mix offered by each operator – but user experience of those services and content is going to become increasingly important. If my experience of a service is better on a different provider network and I am able to do so, I may well churn if it’s sufficiently important to motivate me.

That’s why operators are going to have to take more and more steps to increase the visibility of what happens on their networks, right down to the level of the handset or user device. Without this detailed knowledge, they won’t be able to take steps to guard against churn by taking control of specific services that are delivered to user devices.

Visibility and control of user devices are going to become key weapons in the battle to retain customers – after all, customer retention is much, much cheaper than customer acquisition.

Customer Support Needs Visibility of User Traffic

Written by GoS on . Posted in Blog

Customer support is costly but essential. Adopters of advanced mobile broadband services may place an increased support burden on customer service teams. And, with thin margins, time spent talking to customer service agents reduces the AMPU for each unhappy customer.

Customer service agents need to see what is actually happening at the level of the user device. They need visibility of user application demand, usage and consumption. But, currently, they are limited to what is available from the network. If customer service agents are able to see what the customer is seeing, to experience what they are experiencing, it will dramatically reduce the time it takes to solve problems, potentially resulting in significant savings, including avoiding the cost of finding new customers to replace those who churn to rival networks in frustration.

Don’t forget, every “moment of truth” through customer touch-points is an opportunity to win, lose or retain a customer. Customer service is an essential part of the relationship management – possibly the single most important element of the on-going relationship. It needs investment – both to save money and to grow profits.