In the world of mobile things move at the speed of light except for change. Everyone is trying to compete on the lowest price but what happens when they get to the breaking point? Choosing a mobile carrier will be left up to coverage and OTT (over the top) services. I don’t have much insight on coverage, Sprint works here but T-Mobile doesn’t work there, that’s not in my realm. But what I’ve been giving a lot of thought to lately is what are the carriers going to offer to make them stand out above the others. The biggest thing for me right now is that AT&T has rollover minutes. They’ve had it for years and I think it’s a big draw, keeping your unused plan minutes for the future in case you have an overage.
More recently HTC had a promotion that anyone on AT&T (and a few other carriers in the US) that purchased one of their One X handsets would get 25GB of free storage with DropBox for a year. Buyers of the Samsung Galaxy S 3 are able to download free music when they tap their phones to NFC enabled posters. I really like this type of promotion, using the NFC on the SGS3 is a great way to get consumers using this technology.
I think handset manufacturers and carriers are making significant headway in adding benefit to using their devices ONLY and not the competition. This is important in a world where every Android phone can do the same thing as the next and all iPhones run the same firmware whether they’re on Verizon, AT&T or Sprint. There needs to be a differentiator and something making one phone on one carrier more attractive than same the phone on a different carrier. Now where are the other OTT services that could easily be provided. Why don’t AT&T business accounts get 1 free TripIt Pro account for every $100 increment on their bill? Or why don’t I get free a free download code for a movie from iTunes from my carrier every Wednesday like Orange did for a while in England?
Over the top benefits and services are what’s going to set devices, their manufacturers and carriers apart from the competition and I hope they recognize that. The fight to the bottom on price may be a short term strategy but what happens when they get there. There has to be something else that drives the customer and that will be benefits like free music from Samsung and space on DropBox.
This should teach small business owners and operators a lesson, it’s not always price that matters but what you have to offer that’s different from the rest. We have the best phone service, 24/7 US based customer support, big name musicians/bands for our hold music and many other services that set us apart from the competition. I wouldn’t get laser eye surgery from a doctor with the lowest price or a buy 1 get 1 free offer, so what besides price sets you apart from the competition?