Feature Article

February 27, 2013

Allot Subscriber Segmenting Emphasizes Mobile Service Provider Opportunities

Allot Communications at Mobile World Congress this week is highlighting the results of its new Mobile Trends Report, which illustrates there are several distinct types of mobile broadband subscribers to whom wireless network operators might deliver targeted offers.

The report, which aggregates subscriber information from multiple wireless operators, segments broadband users into five groups.

Info Seekers, which make up 32 percent of subscribers, are those individuals who use the Internet ad hoc, meaning when they need it and where they need it. For example, an Info Seeker might use her/his mobile broadband connection to access specific information from a website while waiting for a bus, explains Jonathon Gordon, director of marketing at Allot Communications. About 75 percent of the traffic from this group is used for Internet browsing, and this segment accounts for just 12 percent of network resources.

A second type of mobile broadband user categorized in the February report is the Digital Mover and Shaker. As the name suggests, this is a more prolific type of mobile broadband subscriber, as these folks are both contributing to and drawing from online content, and sharing their activities on these fronts via social media pretty much around the clock. The report says about 34 percent of individuals fall into this category. Digital Mover and Shaker subscribers are estimated by the study to use 58 percent of network resources.

Allot’s new report also defines a type of mobile broader user as an Info Guzzler. An Info Guzzler is a type of subscriber, which represents five percent of users, who accesses content mostly during the day and primarily for P2P and other downloading reasons. Meanwhile, the Social Monitor accounts for 14 percent of subscribers and represents those folks who access content mostly during mid-day for social networking, video and VoIP. And the Social Mingler, which represents 15 percent of subscribers, is recognized by his or her use of multiple application types during mid-day and the evening.

As noted above, this exercise of segmenting subscribers illuminates that there are different repeated user behaviors on broadband mobile networks, and wireless service providers can and should harness that intelligence not only to make best use of their network assets -- but also to put together targeted offers for select user types in an effort to drive new revenue and build customer loyalty.

“Analytics is great, but at some point you need to do something with it,” says Gordon.

Indeed, he says mobile service providers need to see themselves as being at the center of the digital lifecycle rather than “just delivering bars.” Understanding how subscribers use mobile networks can enable a cellular service provider to make specific experiences better -- or, at least, unique to specific subscriber’s desires and willingness to pay or accept sponsored offers.

Gordon points out that when a YouTube video doesn’t work or involves a lot of buffering, mobile subscribers don’t contact YouTube to complain; rather, they think about their wireless service providers. In fact, it’s probably the only time these subscribers think about their mobile service providers, he adds. But he says that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

 “Service providers should like it because it puts them in a position of power,” says Gordon.

That’s because service providers have the ability to understand what’s happening on their networks to predict congestion, for example; getting ahead of the problem by alerting subscribers of the situation; and offering them solutions, such as upping their subscription plans or delivering an offer from a content provider partner who might sponsor a better network experience and pay the mobile operator for that capability. This type of thing can enable service providers to insert themselves more prominently in the mobile value chain, build new revenue, and lower help desk requests in the process, Gordon says. And, he adds, the tools necessary to make that happen are already available, so all of the above is possible today.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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