Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Next Killer Ap for South African Telco’s – simplexity.

I have been consulting to a number of industries, including to various companies in the South African Telecommunications industry; telco, reseller, and service providers on business optimization.

Being a bit of a gadget freak; I was an early adopter and got my first cell phone in the early nineties; using a Nokia 2110 brick. Not being totally technical disabled (a PhD in engineering helps), I have been frustrated with the complexity of the telecommunication business over the years from a consumer, and business owner perspective. In simple terms this means for Telco companies that I, as a buyer of your technology services, don’t really understand what you are telling me to buy and use. In my own words - I want a telco provider to enable me to be connected to my world, at a good price, and without hassle.

Obviously I am hooked on my iPhone – on my trip to the Netherlands I had to find a way to stay online with it. Irrespective of one’s net asset value, paying R300 per megabyte on roaming data rates is not acceptable. So, with a “bundle” of questions; I approached the T Mobile shop on Kalwerstreet to buy a prepaid data connection.

What a shock ! 5 Minutes later I walked out with an activated prepaid simcard on my iPhone, loaded with an inclusive voice and data value pack (“beltegoed”). Within a time span of three hours I made local and international voice calls, downloaded my emails, uploaded a few facebook pictures, check my LinkedIn messages, used Googlemaps for guidance, searched for shop locations and prices for toys, gifts and electronic gadgets.

If you didn’t get this, in South Africa you have to buy the simcard, you have to buy airtime, and then you have to convert the airtime to data bundles through USSD, etc., etc. Oh, and if you happen to have an iPhone, you have to find the internet APN address (this is not on the website, and can’t be found through IVR). And then you will most certainly end-up with the wrong billing at the end of the day if you are a postpaid customer. Get the drift ? And by the way, the T Mobile salesperson became very confused when I hammered him with these questions (from my South African experience) to make sure that I WILL get connected.

The South African mobile industry has enjoyed huge growth and fat margins over the past few years; now the market is saturated; and the question is: what now ?

Think about this; my parents are all above 65; they all have cellphones. Their ARPU declined in the past year or so, due the economic recession. Don’t they also talk, share, travel and buy – for that matter; don’t we all ? They are not gadget freaks, they will not persist trying to make something work that is inherently difficult to do – tried a modem set-up lately?

In all honesty all the price plans, options and stuff can be very boring as we normal people don’t work in the telco industry.

Why don’t you focus on making your complex businesses simple to understand, simple to use, simple to operate, and simple to manage . Making your business complexity simple – call it business simplexity.

Now that should be a real cost-cutting driver and S-Curve profit spinner going forward – we will love it.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Popular Posts