By Rajesh Mhapankar, Director-Innovations, Alepo Technologies
“Millennial” is currently one of the most used buzzwords around the world. If you are a leader or executive of any organization, you must consider millennials and their thought processes before designing any business proposition.
These millennials are coming-of-age consumers (18-34-year-olds) who are digital natives, mobile first, and have vastly different purchasing habits than their parents. What’s more, millennials are mobile app hungry. In the U.S., they spend, on average, 90 hours per month using mobile apps, predominately for video streaming (e.g., YouTube, Netflix), social media (e.g., SnapChat, Instagram), music streaming (e.g., Pandora, Spotify), and messaging (e.g., Viber, WeChat).
What do Communication Service Providers (CSPs) Do?
A CSP offers communication services – fundamentally voice, video, and data services. With the increase in smartphone penetration worldwide and growth in mobile internet, CSPs today have access to unprecedented amounts of data including: customer profiles, device type, usage patterns, location, downloads, uploads, and how much time they spend on each website or app.
With the help of this data, operators can more effectively meet business objectives, promote growth, and drive efficiencies and profitability across the entire telecom value chain. They can create offers that are tailored to meet the digital lifestyle of these millennials. The need of the hour is to launch new and differentiated services that increase customer satisfaction and reduce churn. One of the major ways CSPs can differentiate their services and stand out from the competition in 2017 is by zero-rating applications.
What is Zero-Rating?
According to Wikipedia, zero-rating can be defined as the practice of mobile network operators (MNOs), mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), and Internet service providers (ISPs) not to charge the end customers for data used by specific applications or internet services through their network, in limited or metered data plans.
Simply speaking, zero-rating data enables unlimited usage of an application (or many applications) for a fixed price which can be included in a service plan or offered as a bolt-on. From a subscriber’s perspective, it is more cost-effective for them to use an application, or group of applications, bundled into a fixed price offering, without the risk of additional charges related to usage of the application or the bundled services.
Current Status of Zero-Rated Applications
Since June 2014, U.S. mobile provider T-Mobile has offered zero-rated access to participating music streaming services to their mobile internet customers. In November 2015, they expanded zero-rated access to video streaming services. In January 2016, Verizon joined T-Mobile by creating its own sponsored data program, FreeBee Data, which enables content providers to pay a wireless provider to allow its subscribers to engage with or consume a piece of content without it counting against the customers’ monthly allotments.
Facebook has launched its Free Basic Plan in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The Free Basics plan makes internet accessible to more people by providing them access to a range of free basic services like news, maternal health, travel, local jobs, sports, communication, and local government information. The initiative has brought increasing numbers of people under the digital revolution realm.
Alepo’s Role in Helping CSP’s Design Zero-Rated Applications
Alepo’s advanced Data Monetization Solution enables CSPs to be more responsive and adaptive to consumers’ wants and needs around mobile data services. Today, as mobile subscribers consume more data than ever before, CSPs must be able to deliver compelling, value-based user experiences to stay relevant and profitable. A stellar customer experience – complete with personalized and contextual mobile data offers, real-time usage alerts, unique roaming offers, and everything digital – is central to a CSPs success.
Alepo’s Data Monetization Solution focuses on user experience. The solution is designed to provide CSPs the competitive edge as a cool, digital lifestyle brand that stays ahead of the latest digital trends and delivers on subscriber demands. It creates a highly responsive environment that slashes offer creation to minutes and streamlines the entire offer life-cycle so that operators can spend less time on complex configuration and more time on creating happy and loyal data customers.
With Alepo’s Data Monetization Solution, mobile network operators can readily introduce or evolve their data business with market-ready use cases for app-specific and content-specific offers, bundled offers, pay as you go, recharge rewards and data rollover, location-based services, shared family data packs, and so much more. What’s more, Alepo’s Data Monetization Solution delivers greater operational efficiency by automating the process of service deactivation, helping CSPs transform with minimum obstruction.
For example, Alepo enables operators to react immediately to fast-moving mobile app trends by offering app-specific prepaid data passes that cater to subscribers’ growing demands for app-based digital experiences.
Use Case Examples:
• Unlimited Talk, Text, and Social: Never again experience the pain of FOMO (fear of missing out) with our best-ever, unlimited, prepaid plan. Get unlimited voice minutes, SMS, plus an unlimited data pass to your favorite social mobile apps: Facebook, SnapChat, Pinterest, and Twitter. All for $22.99 per 30 days.
• Mobile Games Data Pack: In addition to any regular prepaid data plan, get one-month of unlimited access to all King-brand mobile app games, including: Candy Crush Saga, Farm Hero, and more. Just $12.99 per 30-day pass. Zero-rated data usage only. Does not include in-app purchases.
Conclusion: With changing lifestyles and the rise of millennials, zero-rated applications hold the key to success for CSPs in 2017.