This blog is by Leslie Shannon from the Networks business of Nokia.
This is why I’ve become a true Customer Experience Management (CEM) fan: one of our quickest and most satisfying wins was with an operator in an emerging market who was just introducing 3G. They used our CEM system to identify 3G-capable handsets in their network that were only using 2G data – surprise, there were a lot of them! – and then approached those customers with a 3G data package offer that quickly increased both 3G takeup and data ARPU. Happy story, happy ending.
So why are so many operators out there with 4G allowing so many of their customers with 4G handsets to get by with using only 3G data? A recent whitepaper by Mobidia revealed that in countries as diverse as Germany, the UK, Russia, and Brazil, more than 65% of 4G-capable Android handsets whose owners are active data users use 4G 0% of the time. As in never.
Each market is different, so for each country it’s a unique mix of lack of coverage, lack of 4G provisioning, or barriers to having a 4G rate plan (such as a higher price – hello, Germany!) that is causing this massive non-uptake of 4G. And what a shame that is, because subscribers who already have a 4G-capable handset are surely the lowest-hanging fruit of all.
For me, the most interesting of these four are Brazil and Russia. As transition markets, Brazil and Russia have GDPs similar to many other markets where operators have told me, “4G handsets are too expensive for our customer base,” as a justification for limp 4G marketing efforts. And yes, 4G handsets are still too expensive for the mass market in most countries around the world. That point, however, is no justification for ignoring the 4G handsets that are already in the network but not using 4G. Activating them really should be the first priority, in every market.
And this is where CEM comes back into the picture. CEM can certainly help an operator identify specifically which 4G handsets are only using 3G data, so operators can make targeted 4G provisioning/data offer campaigns to these customers as per my earlier example. Or, if coverage is the issue, CEM can be used to identify where in the network most 4G handsets are when they’re not using 4G, and to prioritize those areas for the next round of 4G network rollout. The beauty of 4G is that you don’t need to cover everywhere all at once, but it sure speeds up your 4G uptake if you cover the places where these 4G handsets are already in your network, ready and waiting for you. In the 4G goldmine, these are the nuggets that are lying on the ground outside the mine. All you need to do is pick them up.
Oh, and just for the record, let’s remember why we want subscribers to use LTE? Because they use an average of 1.8 times more data than 3G users, that’s why. And if your rate plan is structured so that you make more money when end users use more data, then this is where LTE really pays off.
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