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Are the Carriers Missing a Market?

 
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Jerry Raia
Contributing Editor


Joined: 07 Jul 2003
Posts: 3311
Location: Los Angeles

PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2006 5:00 pm    Post subject: Are the Carriers Missing a Market? Reply with quote

http://spaces.msn.com/richtech/blog/cns/

"So, I've been wondering - Is Cingular missing a market? I've been using the Cingular 2125 Windows Mobile 5 Smartphone for about 3 months now and until something better comes along, you're not going to pry it from my fingers. I rely on it heavily as my calendar and phone book, alarm clock and MP3 player and much more. No question, I'm a power user. And a business user, which is the market that all carriers have set their sites on for these types of products. But I have to wonder. If the right combination of software and services were offered, would a Smartphone be good for my wife (a project manager - corporate America)? My mom (a housewife)? My sister (a teacher)?"

No question they are missing a market. Just walk into any retail carrier outlet and ask some questions about Smartphones. For an even more exciting ride call up customer service with a problem, if they even know the phone you have exists. They don't seem to even understand this market sometimes. If it weren't for sites like these there would be practically no help at all. The market of the non power business user needs more than "what phone do you have again?" when they call for help. This topic always make me want to rant. Very Happy
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alanjlane
Smartphone Neophyte


Joined: 13 Oct 2003
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2006 5:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jerry is 100% on-the-money with his observations. I have purchased and used every generation of Blackberry device out there - the original pager style; the PDA style; and the first phone/Blackberry combo. But I wanted a PHONE with PIM, so I purchased the MPx100, then the Sony P800, the Samsung i600, and then the MPx 220, in search of the perfect combination. Then I decided to try the Motorola Razr - that didn't last long. Went back to a Blackberry with the Cingular 7100g, then to a TREO 650, and am currently using the Cingular 2125. I originally used the Blackberries because of the wireless email for work, but became dependent on them for the PIM functionality of having ALL of my contact information (all phone numbers and addresses, etc.) as well as my Calendar with me at all times. Having this PIM information with me is now essential, and I don't want to carry two devices, so even though I no longer need the wireless email, I float back-and-forth between TREO, Blackberry and Windows Smartphone looking for that perfect device.

What I want is a PHONE form factor (preferrably a flip phone) that has modern PIM functionality (not the sorry excuse for a Calendar and Phonebook on the Moto Razr). I have spent several thousand dollars over the past 5 years in search of the perfect combination (and my son has made a lot of money selling my "hand-me-downs" on E-Bay!). I'm sure I'm not done - I'm eagerly awaiting the HTC Star Trek... The only question in my mind at this point is whether I'll have the patience to wait until one of the U.S. Carriers offers the phone, or whether I'll just pay-up for an unlocked version and give it a try...
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Edgar
Smartphone Intellectual


Joined: 23 Nov 2004
Posts: 217
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2006 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jerry,

remember my bet? the one where you are buying me dinner in 2008 at Le Papillon in San Jose?

This is exactly why segmentation is going to work. MVNO's (Mobile Virtual Network Operators) are going to explode over the next 2-3 years.

Saturation of the low hanging fruit (those that require phones for business or just want one) in some countries has already happened and they are already segmenting into sub markets and specialties to reduce churn and increase revenue. Here in the US and Canookia its in its infancy. So, for example a MVNO like AMP'd or Boost expand the base and reduce the churn by supplying, in this example, music and teen/tweener news etc based on MTV and X-Games and an rss feed of The Office blog or LOST (or whatever those crazy kids watch on TV)

Now you take it to a market like in the example of a project manager, perhaps in say the contractor market, this person could use a smartphone with software segmented for her market, perhaps Project based software, display drawings or create quotes/estimates for housing developers or retail builders with data and forms fed directly from her company real time. Or the elder market, those 50+ - a phone that provides up to the minute specialized news, medicaid reports, travel specials, drug interaction guides, scam alerts, etc

Right now all that is left to the software developer - no real central supplier for this. But its coming, I've seen the business plans and talked to the developers. Segmentation like this will happen some where the MNO (carrier) will do pieces but the MVNO will really create specialized verticals with full portals. From cooking to building to medical to College Alumni groups to High School reunion groups.

So in short, the carrier will either have to continue as a simple bitpipe/minute seller as they are now - and there will always be big money in that because the large portion of customers just want a phone with maybe a camera and sms - or they can move to doing exactly what we are asking here - provide the true full service, enhance their service, provide true open portals and use the full capability of the product(s) they sell.

I forsee them moving a bit, not a bunch to providing a more full service. - maybe to the middle by reselling access and providing repeatable services like hosting or portals or data transfer facilities. Those college kids will still have a job just pushing a phone number out the door Smile Don't forget most of the carriers are nothing more then repackaged landline carriers. AT&T, SBC, Verizon, Vodaphone, etc. They're doing the same business model all over again.
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optikalsaint
Smartphone Thinker


Joined: 28 May 2005
Posts: 468

PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2006 9:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

this is the exact reason why i love selling phones as much as i do. usually when you go to a cellular store youre presented with an annoyed 20 year old with bad hair that doesnt know the difference between a blackberry and a cherry pie.

then you have the few associates, like myself, that pride ourselves on getting the customer exactly what they need. every now and then ill have a customer where a smartphone is a perfect fit for them... just without all the cingular business bloat. so i in turn get them the phone and all the software they need to make that phone work best for them based off of their needs, not my payout.

i think the main problem here is this. when you get to the corporate side of things what you mostly have are a bunch of suits sitting around trying to decide how theyre going to turn a profit this quarter. theyre not sitting there thinking about what they could do to cater to every cutomer, especially in the case of cingular with it 52+ million customers. if i sat around and thought to mysef "hey, how am i gonna push out a ton of phones to hit my montlhy quota, feature quota, accessory quota, etc." i would drive myself to the point of insanity.

the simple fact that i actually take a second to go above and beyond the call of duty to cater to that cutomer to make sure they get exactly what i need, whether i get paid out on it or not, is what i hope the industry will eventually turn in to. right now everything is so "we need activations, do whatever it takes" that nobody stops and takes a second to make sure that the customer is actually getting what they need to prevent future churn rates.

once we get to this point you will have the project manager that travels to several different countries a month get a nice smartphone with a good currency converter or other tools that they need as well as the housewife getting a phone that is equipped with a smart "honeydo" list program or a teacher with her grading scale program, etc.
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LHBALESJR
Smartphone Pupil


Joined: 13 Feb 2006
Posts: 24

PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2006 10:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm an outside sales rep for a petroleum equipment / industrial distributor. When our company finally decided to replace our old Motorola V600s (which was possibly the worst phone I've ever owned), they bought us the Motorola V3 razors. I am closing in on 650 contacts, each which have multiple phone, fax and email addresses. The razor had a capacity of 1000 contacts, but each number and email address was stored as a separate contact. As a result, I was only able to get about 300 contacts stored in that phone. I also receive 20 to 30 phone calls per day from various customers and suppliers, some of which are not in my contact database. I had previoiusly had several Nokia phones which stored the last 30 or so received and dialed calls. The V600 and the Razor would only store the last 10 calls, which was not nearly enough for my needs. During my 30 day exchange period, I made several calls to Cingular to find a phone that could store my contacts and that would store more of my recent call history. Most of the people I talked with were very nice, but were completly unaware of which of their phones would match up with my needs. I ended up researching several websites, including this one and decided on the 2125. If it were not for sites like this, I would never have ended up with this phone. Cingular should have to pay Mike (and other sites like this) for the sale of my phone and my service.

I know this is off topic but I am amazed that no one has come out with a fitted case for this phone. I keep checking with Boxwave, JavoEdge and Krusell, but can't find anything for my phone. I really want a fitted case of some type that can stay on the phone all the time. Does anyone here have any contacts with any case manufacturers who might make some type of fitted case for the 2125?
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Edgar
Smartphone Intellectual


Joined: 23 Nov 2004
Posts: 217
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2006 10:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

YAY - Hey Opti - Let's take off on a tangent with Jerry's thread again!

I expect that Sena, EBCases Piel Frama etc are working on cases. They are usually on top of it - I'm surprised they haven't gotten one out yet.

You may want to send their sales Dept a message - tell them you are open to try a new design for them - perhaps you can get a test one.


Opti, also, unfortunately your quality service is few and far between. It's usually the kid you talk about getting enough for apartment, gas and pizza - and perhaps a kegger every once in a while. He's focused on the commission.
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optikalsaint
Smartphone Thinker


Joined: 28 May 2005
Posts: 468

PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 12:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Edgar wrote:
YAY - Hey Opti - Let's take off on a tangent with Jerry's thread again!


Pfft, thats easy. When Jerry isn't loking I sell customers the Mpx220 Wink


Edgar wrote:
Opti, also, unfortunately your quality service is few and far between. It's usually the kid you talk about getting enough for apartment, gas and pizza - and perhaps a kegger every once in a while. He's focused on the commission.


Unfortunately the individuals that are like me get pulled off the sales floor and put into corporate positions, where they unfortunately become distant and detatched from the sales process.

I personally feel they should have more in-depth training classes. Something that can get the associate off the floor and back in the classroom for a day or two. Something to make them remember how to sell and get them away from the jaded-throat-clenching-fist-balling irritation that comes from dealing with certain customers.

I'm a patient man but sometimes even I turn into the aforementioned associate that I complain about. Usually happens when I get yelled at by a customer who has been on pre-paid for a couple years and who is upset that they have a $700USD deposit and then get even more mad at you when you try to explain, respectfully none-the-less, that pre-paid phones do not affect their credit ratings even if they continue the service... but thats a rant for a TOTALLY different day Wink
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Mike Temporale
Managing Editor


Joined: 07 Jul 2003
Posts: 6940
Location: Toronto, Canada

PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 5:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LHBALESJR wrote:
I ended up researching several websites, including this one and decided on the 2125. If it were not for sites like this, I would never have ended up with this phone.


Glad we could help! :way to go:

LHBALESJR wrote:
Cingular should have to pay Mike (and other sites like this) for the sale of my phone and my service.


I'll second that! Mr. Green Wink
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leslietroyer
Smartphone Ponderer


Joined: 08 Dec 2004
Posts: 53
Location: Sammamish

PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 7:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well back on the origional topic. I agree lots of busy mom's out there would really like WM5 phones if it was marketed to them. I started my wife out on a audiovox THERA. She loved the calendar, easier to use contacts, but hated the form factory. So we went out and got ATT branded audiovox 5600's for each of us. She was hooked. Later she broke her 5600 while traveling, and demanded I get her another SmartPhone.

Before switching to Smartphone's she always had to have me enter numbers into the contacts list -- it was just beyond her and she hated it. Now with outlook it's easy for her. Just the other day she was looking for her physical address book to address a letter. I told her the address should be in her phone. You could see the light bulb go off. She spent the rest of the day entering addresses from the "book" into outlook. She will have the addresses handy whenever.

Anyway she is very very happy with the phone. You would have a fight to get it away from her.


Les
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racerx
Smartphone Pupil


Joined: 03 Feb 2006
Posts: 29

PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2006 2:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One thing I didn't mention when I originally wrote this blog article is that of a shared calendar. Is anyone aware of a shared-calendar service that people could subscribe to that could coordinate a whole family's schedule? I think the idea of a family oriented/soccer mom MVNO might be a good idea...

</RacerX>
RichTech Blog
http://spaces.msn.com/richtech/blog/cns/
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