What SMS Users Are Telling Telcos

Written By: Colin Ong TS

The recent rollout of 3G-ready mobile devices has caused a lot of excitement in the Telco industry, especially in the Asia-Pacific region. This article will highlight the message that current customers are sending through their SMS messaging habits. Many consumers have been used to sending SMS for at least 2 years. Even with its humble typing of tiny keypads and source of simple news channel, SMS is a global phenomenon. Telcos must take time to study what their customers are saying.

Here are some guideposts.

Equitable Pricing Plan:

Most customers fall under a mobile plan that guarantees a certain number of free SMS a month. This will imply that even with future sophisticated messaging systems, they are still more inclined to expect the same pricing plan. Thus it could be inappropriate to introduce a per-messaging pricing, no matter of sophisticated the delivery. Telcos must conduct extensive market research to find the correct pricing plan.

Customisation of Ads:

Customers are not only willing to receive high quality advertisements on their mobile devices, but also want these advertisements to be customized to their interests and preferences. This implies that customers are ready to share more personal details and the mobile devices can be viewed as a channel for dynamic and real-time feedback channel. This may spell the demise of the print newsletter and survey form as the penetration rate for mobile devices increase.

Unchanged Keypad:

Many critics of the SMS system had reservations that customers are not adept at typing messages through small mobile devices keyboard. They had felt that the customer is too impatient and too many typing errors will be made. Well they were wrong! Telcos should collaborate with phone makers to keep the current mobile devices keyboard unchanged and concentrate on keeping the screen larger and equipped with better resolution.

Integrating the experience:

Telcos must pay heed in collaborating with the various broadcasting corporations to create an integrated experience. Current mobile device users are very comfortable in voice and SMS communication. Take this as an example: A customer plays a LAN game on broadband in an Internet Caf, decides to leave the play-station and continues the game on a mobile device. When he reaches home, he turns on his home entertainment system and continues the final stage of the game. This is possible with the GPRS system and 3G Technology synergising with the broadcasting corporation. But more importantly, a number of media and communication providers benefit from this integration. New revenue streams can be developed.

The overlooked education industry:

It is unfortunate that the education industry has not fully utilized SMS to complement the delivery of lecture notes and tests. The same grouses are the small mobile device screen and the lack of security features to determine the identity of the user. However, with 3G technology, educators should think out of the box and allow students to spend more time off campus to conduct their own research. Occasionally, they can arrange for the student to sit for a test that can be transmitted through their mobile devices.

Untapped Security Market:

The Mobile Device can be the next in-thing as a security device. The concept is relatively simple. The students location can be tracked by the GPRS system through the mobile device and the parent can have a face-to-face chat with the child. This concept can also be stretched to include these devices in various parts of a car i.e. like a black box in a plane. If there are any major accidents, insurance companies can view these recordings and get a better picture of the accident.

Colin Ong TS is the Managing Director of MR=MC Consulting (http://www.mrmc.com.sg) and Founder of the 12n Professional Online Networking Community (http://www.mrmc.com.sg/12n)


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