Now for my number 1. This article is the 10th in a series of 10 articles on the techniques which can be used to get Roaming Partners to sign Roaming Agreements with you. Seduction may not sound like the right word for the skill needed to get other Operators to be your partner, but what we really mean here is that you have to “win them over” to your way of thinking. These articles are intended to help you get your roaming agreements signed and launched quick!
I spent a couple of weeks at the beginning of this series of articles deciding on what would be my number 1 technique for seducing Roaming Partners. Coverage is super important, in the future compliancy will be too, offering discounts is a must but when it comes down to ensuring the customer is satisfied I believe that every operator must ensure that they prioritise services over all else, because it is services which differentiate an Operator from its competitors and because it is services that ensure the customer can stay connected as they want.
If you don’t have services competitive in your market, you must get them. Even if you perceive their isn’t immediate demand you will see once you start talking with Roaming Partners what a differentiator services can be and how not having services will also block steering of Roaming and discount deals to your network.
Let’s take for example a new Operator entering into a market where there are already Operators. Services differentiate. I recall an Operator in Europe doing this. While the two other operators in this country were sleeping, a third operator came into the market offering all the latest services. The existing operators had not anticipated that the new operator would go beyond the existing market demand. Perhaps the market in question did not even know it could have newer services because both operators in that market didn’t want to invest in new services. The moral of the story is that services provide a competitive edge that is about investing in a customer. In the market I’m referring to, within a year or so the new operator had churned 40% of the subscribers to their market and attracted the majority of Inbound Roaming traffic.
Ok so what I’m suggesting here is not easy for a Roaming Manager to deliver as the implementation of services is a decision for the entire Network and due to domestic demands as well as Roaming demands and in economic crisis may not make sense. However the Roaming Manager is in a position to influence the rollout of services by bringing to the attention of senior management the importance to Roaming Partners of a full service capability for Roaming. Talking in actually financial terms, what losses does your network actually suffer from not opening CAMEL for example? You should know what it means financially, even if the numbers are somewhat hard to make tangible.
I read recently in an Industry Survey that actually some networks believe that Roamers are second class to their own customers. Some Operators may even want to offer a lesser service profile to Roamers in the future. This seems contradictory to Customer demands to me… do they want also their roamers to have a worse experience when Roaming on other networks? In balance, when considering the revenue benefits from Roaming, Operators may even want to consider launching services for Roamers specifically, even if their domestic customers do not demand them. It is in reality feasible and achievable to do so if an Operator wants to.
As we start to see LTE footprints emerge and the footprints start to get bigger… why wouldn’t any new network want to invest in the future to build a customer base for tomorrow as well as today. In the case of Services at launch of a new network…build everything. To translate this using the old expression… build Rome in a Day!
Let’s not forget about the opportunities that M2M bring for Roaming (but that is for another day).
The Basic Technique: Launch all services available. Start with plans to launch 4G, 3G, CAMEL at minimum.
The Seduction: Be the first to market, offer something different, ensure that services launched are covering major locations at minimum. Consider packaging in your Wi-Fi hotspots (talk to me if you don’t know what this means).
This works because having all Services launched means that customers of all kinds, but especially Corporates can get consistent service when Roaming. This works because we all deserve the opportunity to Roam and communicate as we want and more than ever customers have a choice today not only of GSM Operators but with Wi-Fi and OTT Players.
So there it is, the top ten techniques at least from my experience in Roaming. I think they provide a sound basis for any Roaming Department to boost their Roaming footprint and expedite their rollout. At Rocco we don’t provide temporary resources for Coordination, IREG, TADIG etc we leave that to others, but we do specialise in providing resources that can help you with your strategic direction and we can find resources to build a permanent Roaming team for you. Why not contact us to see how we could boost your Roaming revenues, productivity and think more globally about your potential.
Until then look out for next weeks article, I have something new for you.
Grow Roaming Consult Rocco.