Ten Things I Want From You
Back on the 19th October I mailed James Enck about an idea I had that was inspired by his ‘Ten Things I Hate About You’ post that he gave at the Telco2.0 event in London. It was interesting to see what the outside view of things that are wrong with Telco’s are given that I am employed as a Strategic Advisor to one (Orange) so I thought it would be useful to get in touch with various people I have met over the last year or so and ask them what they actually want from a Telco. The idea being to promote a conversation with the community that could then be presented to my management and of course posted here and on James blog.
The basic premise is to turn the Ten Things into the things that people want from a Telco as opposed to what they see wrong, in fact after spending a lot of time looking over the answers that came in it occurred to me that they are almost the same thing to some people, as in what they want from a Telco are the fixing of things they currently see as wrong! May seem obvious now however I for one have found the feedback very useful in that a lot of it mirrors what I initially thought and have discussed within my peer group within the company.
The list I suggested initially to James was: (I couldn’t think of Ten and several others couldn’t either)
- Flat rate voice bundle
- Flat rate data bundle
- Pan European Bundles
- Unlocked/Open Handsets
- Open SIP stacks
- SMS/MMS API
- Open Location API
- Broad adoption of Internet IM on mobiles
- API access to own data (call history, contacts etc)
The Ten Things I’ve collated together from the answers looks like this
- Improve the Basics (16)
- Transparent pricing (11)
- Embrace internet and don’t compete or lock out (8)
- Business and Personal(7)
- Open Handset (6)
- Flat rate Data (4)
- Open development environment (4)
- Open Source Technology (2)
- Open Data (2)
- PC integration (1)
One reason it has taken this long to produce the results is that I should have gone with multiple choice, possibly based on the list of things I expected to see, however I left it free form and the replies were all very different meaning I’ve had to apply a lot of my own reasoning to pull out ten themes from the answers. I tried to pull out the theme from each set of answers, some were short 1 liners and others quite full explanations, and then create some headline titles for each one and I hope i’ve done them justice as some could sit across more than one headline, for better or worse I made a call on each to only be in one though.
The response rate was 30% overall which is pretty positive I think but since I’m not a marketeer I’m not sure, once I grouped the answers I’ve ordered the list by number of responses per headline (the figure in parenthesis).
It’s very interesting to see that Improve the basics is overwhelmingly at the top, what strikes me is that there is a lot of talk on Voice2.0, Fixed Mobile convergence, the rise of VoIP, minutes arbitrage and how telephony in general needs to evolve and yet the two most desired things are effectively:
improve the basics (and make it work better)
Make “voice” superb first before adopting high-capacity services such as mobile video
Improved usability of basic telephony and messaging functions (eg. Voicemail)
Don’t compete with other carriers on cell towers. Work together to give me the best reception everywhere, regardless of who owns which spot on a tower. It’s silly to be in places where on carrier’s phone works, and another doesn’t.
Transparent (clear consistent) pricing
Much cheaper international roaming (fair prices please)
The cost to transport a call internationally is almost never more than a few cents. Stop ripping customers off on international calls. They’ll start using you instead of Skype.
Treat me as an important person – for example I expect my operator to know who my friends are and offer a discounted rate to calling my friends. And offer me some discounts/thank yous etc, because I pay a lot of money on mobile phone bills each month
The general ‘tone’ of the replies leads me to believe that the majority are quite happy to pay a reasonable cost for the basics as long as they are done well and that the rise in alternatives we see now are simply because people are finding ways around the problems they have with Telcos.
When it comes to service development the more open a Telco is the more people will develop against and drive innovation, the lack of openness we have now is closing the door to many opportunities and ultimately causing a more complex telephony landscape than there really needs to be, a service developed against the core rather than routed around it is usually a better experience after all.
I don’t want to make this post much longer so will leave this as a here are the results type post but one last point is that the majority of people that replied are from the USA and several of the things they wanted already exist in the European market, or at least from my knowledge of Orange, hopefully many of the things that don’t currently exist will come about next year across all Telcos, evidence is there already with the launch of Xseries by 3 and I’m sure more will follow soon.
In closing many thanks to all those that responded and I hope you find this post useful