‘Freemium’ models and sponsored data – giving the people what they want?

by Thomas Vasen Sep 04, 2014

Following on the heels of increasingly common, albeit still fairly new “freemium” service offerings, AT&T’s recently announced sponsored data service launch has been unusually controversial. Not that that’s likely to deter other telco providers from offering a competitive alternative. Whereas the debate about any business model innovation in telecoms is usually confined to its potential impact on revenues (why else launch if not to increase subscriber numbers or reduce churn?), with toll-free data a Pandora’s box of broader issues appears to have been opened.

The Federal Communications Commission is already set to weigh in, clearly suggesting the agency feels that a toll-free service may be game for regulatory intervention. Why? Because with sponsored data, questions of net neutrality come into play, a topic already being fiercely and publicly debated by the CEOs of Netflix and various telco pipe providers, among others. They’re the ones on opposite sides of the sponsored data coin.

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Partner Enablement: The new frontier in telecoms services?

by Thomas Vasen May 06, 2014

It’s no great secret that telecoms operators have long wanted to deliver more valuable and lucrative services to their customers. As networks have evolved, facilitating what can be offered, both the pace and importance of broadening the service profile have become increasingly critical. However, despite their best intentions, telcos have struggled to really capitalise on the opportunity at their fingertips. One reason for that is that many are unable to develop the partnerships necessary for modern services to really take-off.

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Sponsored data and net neutrality: No closer to the answer in some ways but already there in others.

by Thomas Vasen Mar 24, 2014

Recently, we’ve been blogging about sponsored data services both from the perspective of how they relate to the growing Net Neutrality debate and also from the angle of how to monetize them. With the argument between Netflix and Comcast picking up steam, it’s clear that the discussion is shifting from a smaller stage to a much larger one and the nature of how commercial relationships inherent in an open, competitive Internet is the central subject.

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Sponsored data… could it be fixed?

by Thomas Vasen Feb 28, 2014

Given the proliferation of recent news stories about sponsored/toll-free data services in mobile networks, here’s an interesting question: “Is the sponsored data model ideal to secure service delivery in the fixed network too?"  After all, cellular service providers aren’t the only ones who need to think outside the box to secure their future ROI.

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More thoughts on Sponsored Data: Keep the debate simple won’t be an option!

by Thomas Vasen Feb 13, 2014

As the sponsored data debate continues to gain momentum (US carriers were first floating the idea at least a year ago so the novelty has now worn off), two things are certain. First, it’ll continue to be a controversial topic, and second, it’s not going to go away. Now, AT&T’s service launch has put meat on the bone and brought new voices, including that of the consumer, into the conversation.

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Freemium model has arrived. Now the challenge is making it work and managing it cost effectively…

by Thomas Vasen Jan 21, 2014

Subscription-based businesses – such as phone companies -- use customer acquisition cost as a key business metric, especially when it’s seen it in the context of churn. Churn defines whether acquisition actually results in growth; lose more subscribers than you bring in and you just tread water (or even, worse, shrink). Because growth is critical to success, it follows that low churn is a prerequisite.

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