Sponsored Data has received a lot of press recently. However, the model is quite limited and currently difficult to access. While this evolves, operators can look to similar models however to work with partners. The partner network needs to grow significantly and the best way to do this is to make mobile subscribers and network services accessible. Not just to major corporations but to any business on any street corner that wants to engage with their customers.
Without exposing subscriber information to partners, operators can allow them to engage with them in a meaningful way. Allowing partners to use messaging capabilities, whether with the ubiquity of SMS or piggy backing on the operator app provides a very valuable channel to market to subscribers. Operators can allow partners to choose when to engage based on vast amounts of valuable information, such as ARPU, age range, location and tenure. Provide this service, make it accessible and give them reports on how it performs.
Another set of levers are the services themselves. Partners can look at sponsoring these for subscribers as a way of building brand recognition, awareness of services and increasing loyalty. At a MVNO Network Congress recently, an MVNO boasted single digit churn on their prepaid base. Why? Because they were asking everybody, except the subscriber, to pay for their mobile services. Whether it’s sponsoring voice, data or SMS services, it will be meaningful for the right subscriber. Even in cases where the subscriber has a lot of inclusive allowances, the perception of free tastes good. We should not forget the other tool that operators have which is data speed. Allowing partners to buy speed for subscribers rather than units could be very effective and opens the door for a whole wave of marketing budget for brands who want to be associated with it.
Paying subscribers are very valuable to businesses and using operators’ networks is a great way to access them. Operators can monetize their networks now, or wait until Google does it at their expense.