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October 30, 2008

Researchers: Smartphone Penetration a Key to Revenue for Mobile Operators

Addressing one of IT’s more robust markets in this slower economy, a Long Island, New York-based market research firm this week said that mobile operators should drive revenues by focusing on pricing, smartphone penetration, customer mobility, occupation distribution and device feature adoption.

Officials from ABI Research (News - Alert) say their 13-page brief, “US Mobile Operator Business Customer Profiles,” examines survey demographics and the adopted device features driving average revenues per user of the mobile business customers of four U.S. operators: Verizon, AT&T (News - Alert), Sprint and T-Mobile USA.
According to Dan Shey, a principal analyst at the firm, the survey analysis shows that operators have pursued different strategies which have affected their mobile business ARPUs.
“Each has its benefits, and can deliver great near-term benefits,” Shey said. “However, the data also shows the challenges raised by these decisions, particularly in a competitive environment.”
For example, ABI says, Verizon has high ARPUs through a network that helps it maintain high customer satisfaction ratings and allows it to charge high per-minute voice rates. But extensive network coverage is not leading to greater voice usage.
“Meanwhile, T-Mobile has done a great job of placing BlackBerry (News - Alert) devices in the hands of its customers, but its ARPUs are not as high since it has the lowest data pricing of all the carriers,” the research firm reports.
Yet BlackBerry users – particularly as Research In Motion prepares to open its own downloadable application site – are set to have access to a wide range of features for their smartphones.
As TMCnet reported, one of those features, one of the applications unveiled this week is an upgraded free program that allows smartphone users to update their statuses on Facebook (News - Alert) and Twitter with their voice alone. The image on the right shows vlingo’s Facebook application on a smartphone screen.
Officials with Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Vlingo Corporation say their program – called “vlingo 2.0 for BlackBerry – includes support for 10 new applications and full-text message read-back.
Yet, according to Shey, mobile operators cannot rely only on the five factors it identified to stay competitive.
“Although business customers are a high ARPU customer segment, they are also very demanding,” Shey said. “Ultimately operators need to have a portfolio of solutions which they can tailor and use individually or in partnerships to serve business customer needs.”
The firm’s study relies on data from a Web-based survey of 750 wireless business users in the United States, and includes a demographic comparison of operators’ subscribers including occupation and vertical distribution, mobility profile, office building size, operator satisfaction ratings, and smartphone penetration.
Don’t forget to check out TMCnet’s White Paper Library, which provides a selection of in-depth information on relevant topics affecting the IP Communications industry. The library offers white papers, case studies and other documents which are free to registered users. Today’s featured white paper is The Compelling ROI Benefits of Contact Center Quality and Performance Management Technologies, brought to you by Voice Print International (News - Alert).

Michael Dinan is a contributing editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Michael’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Michael Dinan


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