1/16/2008 11:10:00 AM
Reason USB cheerful
This bit of Mobile is harshly (though perhaps fairly) referred to as ‘the depressing bit’. So it’s with caution and delight that, for one week only, we engage in a bit of optimism. And we find it in the unlikely home of USB modems. Bringing these products to market, making them resonate with consumers and showcasing them in retail has been a huge achievement. Leading this have been 3, T-Mobile, Carphone Warehouse and several astute small dealers. The imagination required to ‘create’ a market, i.e. not simply cannibilising existing products and services, but building a new proposition incremental to the traditional business is not easy. Executing it to deliver a solid, new revenue stream requires real skill.
With the mobile market saturated and subject to price pressure, companies are looking to go after other markets. The USB modem feeds the huge demand for internet access as a necessity. It identifies the latent demand among consumers who aren’t going to be tied to one address for a long period, and exploits the negative image of customer experience associated with companies in fixed-line broadband.
We’ve seen 3 trying to engage dealers this week, and Vodafone opened up PC World as a new channel for consumer sales of its USB dongles after limiting its modems to business customers. Similar opportunities seem to be lurking around the corner with music, gaming, laptops and internet all joining up with mobile connectivity. There may not be as much money in it as the glory days of commissions on mobile contracts, but it is new business, and mobile retailers who understand the power of the humble Sim card in this new world will be well set. There is optimism. But there is a need to adapt, and adapt quickly.