Since 2018, South Africa has seen a decline in the number of fixed and satellite broadband subscriptions¹, which are waning in favour of mobile broadband usage. In a mobile-first society where users primarily access the Internet through mobile devices, African operators have an opportunity to advance broadband consumption in new ways and spark a digital transformation. This transformation starts with operators taking a holistic, 360-degree view from the subscriber’s perspective and examining all the ways that they can improve the user experience. (¹Connecting Africa, “SA smartphone numbers jump, but fixed broadband subs drop”, 4 June 2020.)
Whether it is a smartphone or a feature phone, the quality of the mobile handset itself matters. Having a dependable device is critical to subscribers and to an operator’s brand. Subscribers expect a level of quality that assures their device will perform as expected for at least three years. For operators, the opportunity cost of offering an inferior device is not worth the risk as it reflects poorly on their brand and can lead directly to consumer churn and revenue loss. Both subscribers and operators need assurance that device quality is not an issue, and this depends upon establishing a baseline with high-quality components and casings built for optimal performance.
Creating emotional connection
The next area that will drive this digital transformation is enhanced capabilities and mobile applications. The mobility market is competitive, and operators are constantly looking for ways to distinguish themselves. They need a library of mobile apps that venture beyond the operator-branded app for billing and customer support. Digital apps provide a direct channel to the subscriber, one that can potentially be monetised, helping operators to grow their average revenue per user.
Operators must consider all the ways subscribers use their mobile devices — for news, gaming, video streaming, education and more. By curating a set of useful digital apps that are pre-installed on the customer device and ready to use, without download, operators can improve their customer stickiness as subscribers build connections with engaging apps and life-enriching capabilities.
Lowering customer barriers
To encourage adoption of these smart feature phones, it is important to lower the barriers to entry for the subscriber. Inclusive pricing bundles with unlimited data will entice subscribers to fully utilise the library of apps and capabilities on their device without the worry of exceeding their data usage limits and incurring additional cost. For operators, these types of plans create increased customer stickiness and can also improve customer satisfaction.
These changes cannot be made in isolation. There is no singular magic lever to trigger a shift in the mobility market. The starting point for this digital transformation is the customer experience. Operators need to frame every decision from the customer’s perspective to make the choices that will resonate most with subscribers. Additionally, discussions should not be limited to thinking only about design, form and functionality, but they should also envision new ways to connect and engage with subscribers through digital apps and capabilities like video calling.
Radisys, a global leader of open telecoms solutions and a premium digital experience enabler, recently announced a partnership with KaiOS Technologies to deliver smart feature phones for emerging markets in Africa, South America, and South and Southeast Asia that enable operators to create and offer rich branded digital experiences. Radisys has taken key learnings from its work with Reliance Jio and its top-rated JioPhone in India to bring together an integrated set of capabilities and applications in a device with a simple user experience to drive subscriber growth and data consumption in these global markets.
The smart feature phone available through Radisys integrates built-in capabilities from Radisys’s communications and application portfolio, including video calling and channels, as well as the ability to support a full range of media applications including IPTV, video on demand and music streaming. Radisys can also create a library of white-labelled apps compatible with iOS, Android and KaiOS devices for operators to embed in other handsets in their portfolio. Radisys combines a consultative approach with integrated digital services and engaging applications to help operators develop a market-specific strategy to create new revenue streams, increase customer stickiness and drive data consumption.
For more information about Radisys, please visit radisys.com.
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