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Mobile network marketing: New innovative ways to increase ARPU, attract new customers and improve existing experiences.

Efficient mobile network marketing is a never-ending process. The network is an organic and ever-changing environment and errors may appear from time to time. Since Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) are fixed elements and cannot adapt to population movements on time, Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) are limited in ways they can change the configuration to improve signal in an affected location. These changes can also negatively affect customers in another location. In my career I have seen many ways how MNOs are extending their coverage while improving network performance and the overall network experience. Some of them are more efficient, some not so much.

How MNOs usually do it:

How MNOs preselect locations for network improvement can usually be summarized in a few points:

  1. Complaints from customers within an affected area
  2. Permanently overloaded sites or cells – information obtained from internal systems
  3. Planned investment into coverage extension
  4. Legal demand for coverage extension (mostly due to license Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) on area coverage)

Usually at this point, network extension and upgrade activities end but this is a big potential big mistake. Let’s look closely at what are the missed opportunities and how to maximize gain from effective network extension and improvements.

How can MNOs do it more efficiently

1. Analyze

It is very important to have a general overview of the weak points in a network. But most importantly, to identify cells where the same customers have repeated issues. Only 10% of affected customers will call to complain but the rest are still detractors and will negatively influence their friends and relatives. Hence, in this phase, it is also recommended to measure the satisfaction of customers via surveys. With available Big Data technologies, you will be able to gather the necessary insight from networks in real time.

Mobile Operator Data throughput study
Pic.1: example of cells with lower data throughput within part of the city

2. Inform

Set up communication strategy for the customers who you know might be experiencing network issues and inform them that you are preparing improvements. Also include an estimated date of when the issue will be fixed. Communication should start immediately after the network malfunction appears or is diagnosed.

3. Repair or extend

There are lots of different issues in your network and you need to allocate a proprietary budget to fix them. You will be facing low indoor coverage, handover issues, dropped calls, mute calls, low throughput, latency delays, etc. Work has to be done in order to keep your customers satisfied.

4. Analyze again

Once work is done, make sure the problem was fixed within the location and issue has disappeared. Double check before you move onto the next stage.

5. Communicate

Your improvements must be communicated locally and addressed to the customers who were facing the problem. You can use social media, leaflets, local radio channels, or any other available local media with the purpose of promoting your upgrades and improvements.

6. Measure

You will need to measure the success of your activity on affected customers. You can use addressed online surveys, depending on the specific case. You should be able to get a new satisfaction score (e.g. MRS, MPS) and then compare it with the value from the beginning of your activity.

Once you successfully come to point 6, it is a good time to start from the beginning. This time with a new locality with a new network issue. As mentioned earlier – mobile network is an organic and ever-changing environment, so you do not have to worry that one day all your work will be done :).

Tips:

  1. Mobile network marketing is a transversal activity where it is very necessary to cooperate closely with the Network team, the Business Intelligence team as well with communication team. In some silo-oriented companies, this can be a real issue. The recommended approach is not to lead it as a project, but rather to create standardized processes and treat it as an usual business activity. The Head of this activity should be placed on the business side of things and this person should have a business and IT background.
  2. During location preselection, start with locations where your improvement activities will have biggest impact from the perspective of the customer.
  3. Precisely select communication channels and always communicate locally within improved area. You have many available channels at hand and we recommend using multiple channels for communications. E.g.:
    1. near an existing road in your city where customers experienced dropped calls. Do not hesitate to put out the message that the problem was fixed on a billboard, or text customers that regularly drive in this area about solving this issue.
    2. If you extend coverage in a previously insufficient indoor coverage area, notify people about this improvement. You can use billboards, city lights, leaflets, or text messages.
    3. Communicate all your improvements internally as well as externally. Posts on social media can be effective. Be aware that “haters gonna hate” and might negatively comment on your posts, however most people will welcome the positive impact of your activity.
  4. Incorporate mobile network marketing as a strategic initiative into the midterm strategy of your corporation and communicate outcomes onto the boards of directors.

Example of mobile network marketing done in Slovak republic in 2017

Triggers

  • Area with poor 2G and 3G coverage
  • Significant indoor coverage issues (in most cases, inability to make calls from indoor places)
  • Local satisfaction survey to map current levels of satisfaction

Actions

  • Extend 2G and 3G coverage
  • Support this initiative with local targeted communication
  • Measure impact of upgrades and improvements

Results

  • 25% of customers in affected area reported immediately improvement
  • 85% (of above mentioned 25%) declared increase of overall customers satisfaction
  • 15% of inhabitants have recognized local communication and out of this pool 75% of inhabitants correctly attributed communication to the specific mobile provider
  • The most successful communication channels were – leaflets 71%, local radio 29%, posters 6%

Perception improvements

  • 31% of customers changed their mind and started to think about their mobile provider in a positive way
  • 28% of competitor’s customers changed their mind
  • 9% of competitor’s customers were willing or decided to port their number

The above results are proof of how mobile network marketing can increase your brand perception, loyalty and bring in new customers.

It is very important to focus on the needs of every single customer. Today, we have all the necessary tools and technology required to target individual customers. With Instarea’s expertise in analysing big data from telcos and visualizing it in a meaningful way, monitoring dropped calls and identifying weak points in the network will be easy. So will be the communication with customers on an individual level. Instarea’s out-of-the-box solutions mean that you can start doing this in no time.

We would be happy to discuss this topic with you in more detail and help you to set up your own network marketing initiative within your company. Please feel free to reach out to us.

Lukas Rybar

Business Development

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