By Chris Waters, Business Analyst, InfoVista
The common smartphone originally emerged as a means to converge mobile phone, pager, PDA, computer and fax capabilities into a single device. When coupled with major applications like a calendar, email, calculator, clock, note pad and games, the appeal naturally took hold.
Today, the smartphone’s universality continues to grow exponentially. The iPhone, BlackBerry and Android (among others) have created identifiable apps their users (primarily 19-35 years old) relate with such as DrunkDialer, Learn to Kiss, iFart, and The AcneApp. Kick to Pick even allows your unborn child to choose a name with a random kick. Needless to say, many seem to be unable to disconnect from their smartphones, an unnatural but accustomed companion. Studies by Pew Research Center and Ericsson Consumer Lab in 2010 reported that 65% of end users even sleep with their smartphones, and 35% reported using their phones even before getting out of bed in the morning.
The vast increase in mobile phone use has made them central to our needs, and with this, the expectation of the end user has increased as well. In the past, the successful release of a product/service adhered to the following equation: “Best Hardware” + “Best OS” + “Best Network” = “Reliable Performance;” however, this is not enough anymore. As we know, we are in a time when budgets are being cut, operators are being asked to do more with less and the mobile market is saturated at almost, if not, 100% (especially in the U.S.). Ultimately, customers have no carrier loyalty, rather with the ability to transfer numbers between carriers, the decision to move is a matter of convenience. As such, it seems we’ve seen a shift to an equation of “Best Hardware” + “Best OS” + “Best Network” + SERVICE ASSURANCE = “Reliable Performance” for success. With the addition of this vital service assurance element, mobile operators are capable of ensuring performance and service quality; and increasing customers’ overall quality of experience.
Providing a superior quality of experience by identifying needs and developing strategies to deliver upon those needs consistently, is paramount to success. A prime example can be seen in past and present actions from Apple. Upon the release of the iPhone 4 in 2010, antenna issues marred the starred anticipation of the device. Call and service reliability were major dissatisfaction areas. The quality of experience was low. As a result, Apple immediately released free bumpers, while the antenna issue was solved. Soon after, in 2011, the exclusivity arrangement with AT&T ended, allowing millions of customers to flock to the alternative Verizon network. End result: in March 2011, Apple’s iPhone topped J.D. Power’s satisfaction survey, identifying such users as the happiest in the world.
So too, mobile operators currently must meet the needs of their customers both in a direct and wholesale manner. With decreasing ARPUs, convoluted messaging, high market saturation and low customer loyalty, differentiation (in quality, visibility and reporting) is an avenue by which CSPs can look to create value-added services and increase revenue. That’s why now, more than ever, with worldwide subscriber numbers continually rising, devices and networks becoming more complex and CSPs being forced to meet rising demands while keeping budgets low, the presence of unified visibility into network performance, application performance and subscriber quality of experience, is paramount to success.
Leave a Reply