iPad making operators think outside the box

June 9, 2012 - Openet

Just yesterday, there was an announcement by Openet that “Subscriber Initiated Provisioning” and “Service Pass” solutions would be applied to iPads, which could mean more subscriber-initiated provisioning of data access by volume of data usage or by duration.

This is just further evidence that some operators are willing to stray from contract-driven, long-term commitment mind-sets to a model of allowing consumers alternatives with data plans that flexibly meet on-the-fly demands without being wedged into traditional prepaid or postpaid categories.

The proliferation of new devices means technologically savvy but not so capital-rich or regimented users want to consume but without the stranglehold of long-term commitments.
With yesterday’s announcement, Openet's Subscriber Initiated Provisioning and Service Pass solutions are an example of how at least one North American operator (we’re not allowed to say who "on the record," but you can venture to guess) can roll out new mobile data plans not just on iPads, but really on any type of mobile device, whether a smartphone, wireless broadband dongle or USB key (e.g., Cricket Broadband available through Wal-Mart), if they partner wisely device-wise and retail-wise.

By giving customers the flexibility to purchase data services in a variety of ways (e.g., by time period and volume of data or for specific services or applications ), operators can more readily excite consumers they otherwise might miss or lose. In much the same way that Dell sells notebooks with 3G cards to enable simplified activation for Netflix, operators may be realizing that they can take a hands-off approach and explore new business models with third parties that can further monetize new devices. This may be incentive for mobile operators to work with retailers and OTT players for content and devices that appeal not only to consumers, but enterprises as well.

“Right now, the market is somewhat horizontally ‘consumer focused,’ but we think that fleet management and other types of enterprise applications will make these types of models hot in the business space as well,” said Openet chief marketing officer Mike Manzo. “If operators can get devices onto their network without lot of heavy lifting for customer engagement, then there can be more of a hands-off approach in terms of interfacing with customers,” Manzo added, noting that over-the-air activation would lead to near-zero interaction once the components for connectivity are established directly with the operator.


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