Wireless Carriers and MVNOs Can Gain Revenue and Keep Their Data Without Giving Away the Goods

by NTENT’s Jim O’Leary, VP Product Management, Brian Elmi, Director of Product Management and Stefanie Frederick, Product Manager

“As consumers, we should want wireless carriers to have a robust digital solution and offer services that are independent from the Googles of the world.”

Hey Wireless Carriers, let us let you in on a little secret: Google is working to replace you. Sure, on the surface it appears like you’re working together. The truth is, the kickback you get now adds up to chump change for the conglomerate who knows that soon it will own your users and extract revenue from them for decades to come.

Google is the most used search engine on the planet. Its Android mobile operating system holds the highest market share, while its Chrome web browser remains the most popular on desktop and mobile devices. It owns YouTube, the most popular video platform and it aspires to own a direct connection to consumers through phone and internet connectivity solutions like Project Fi, Google Fiber and Loon.

The good news is that most wireless executives we speak to are well aware of Google’s intentions. We consistently hear that carriers want to be more than a “dumb pipe” connecting people to the Internet, allowing Google to capture all the upside from ad revenue, data, sales of additional services, etc. Carriers want to provide services that add value and are not easily commoditized. They want to forge enduring relationships with their subscribers that limit people’s willingness to churn whenever they see a special offer from another carrier that could save them a few dollars.

The Subscriber Advantage to a Google Alternative.

As consumers, we should want wireless carriers to have a robust digital solution and offer services that are independent from the Googles of the world. For one thing, the monthly fees we pay position wireless carriers to enrich our lives without selling our privacy to the highest bidder. Furthermore, competition benefits consumers in the long-run; More options lead to greater innovation and lower prices. Fewer choices lead to monopolies, lack of innovation and higher prices. When it comes to choosing search engines, browsers, operating systems, document storage and messaging services, the more options available for consumers, the better.

How Carriers can win with NTENT

One great way for carriers to take action is by providing a branded mobile app that delivers features, capabilities and information your subscribers want to use every day — being an integrated part of subscribers’ daily lives is the best defense against commoditization or disintermediation. However, people only use a limited number of apps on their phones and trying to train them to use a new category of app can be a challenge. An easier path is to provide subscribers with a branded app that fits needs they are already aware of. A branded web browser is an excellent connection point to users. As a tool that most people use multiple times per day, with a familiar and generally undifferentiated user experience, a web browser connects users with content and people (just like carriers do!).

The key here is to modify the standard browser and search experience to make it better for your subscribers. Such modifications include providing users with access to compelling promotions and deals, news and content tailored to their interests, easier access to carrier information (i.e., help/support content, data usage, account/billing info, etc.) and zero-rated browsing. Providing these capabilities in a high-quality browser branded with your logo and pre-installed when subscribers purchase their phone is a recipe for higher customer satisfaction and lower churn, ultimately preserving your differentiated position in the market. It may sound like a lot of work, but with the right partner, even the smallest telco with the tightest budget can offer their users an optimal experience without being gouged by Google.

Learn how NTENT can help with your digital journey.

About NTENT: NTENT is a provider of search and voice assistant technologies. With over 20 years in search, machine learning and AI, NTENT offers an end-to-end Search and Voice Assistant Platform integrated with data intelligence, ad monetization and conversational commerce. NTENT’s partners customize, localize and integrate NTENT’s private-label voice, search and browser solutions according to their needs. The company’s solutions help businesses evolve their market offerings, generate revenue and unlock behavioral data insights through increased engagements.