Benoit Scheen is President, Brightstar EMEA. He has more than 25 years of experience in the TMT markets (Telecommunications-Media-Technology) across Europe and has served as a board director of listed companies and large corporations in seven different European countries.
There has never been a more important time for MNOs to ensure that they are retaining and attracting their high value customers. We are in a new era, and means of expansion in the wireless industry is changing. The market for mobile in Europe is now saturated, with a unique subscriber penetration rate of around 80 percent according to the GSMA Mobile Economy 2016 report, the greatest of any global region.
It is a perfect storm of concerns for operators. Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the value of their hardware and subsidy is being withdrawn. At the same time, a plateau in handset innovation is also contributing to lengthening device lifecycles with customers prepared to move from traditional subsidy models to shorter term SIM-only deals and retaining old hardware, which in turn creates freedom for customer to move to other operators.
Simultaneously, operators need to invest heavily in maximizing their available spectrum and prepare for 5G and a proliferation of connected devices on their networks. On top of that, operators are battling with intense competition – the pressure for operators to retain high value ARPU customers is greater than ever – as well as regulatory pressure.
In order to overcome these challenges, operators need to focus on the customer lifecycle and develop new propositions and thinking that looks at customer relationships over the longer term. Operators need to be proactive and start to predict their customers’ next moves before they make it – potentially with another operator.
Brightstar’s purpose is to simplify the wireless world, making mobile technology accessible to everyone. Brightstar’s solutions allow operators to develop customer loyalty, create more value and extend the customer lifecycle beyond traditional contract periods. Our financial and reverse solutions can be combined to provide a powerful tool for developing new ownership models bringing win/win benefits to both consumer and operator alike.
With Brightstar it is possible to extract the maximum value from a customer’s used device, meaning new models of hardware ownership are a reality. Using our experience, scale and data analysis, we are able not only to take a carrier’s existing stock off their hands, but pledge to buy new handsets for an agreed price at the end of its lifecycle a year or more from now.
Leasing meanwhile takes the cost of phones off balance sheets for our carrier partners, enabling them to concentrate on growing their audience and enhancing their technologies and services for their existing customers. Leasing also gives the end consumer the device they really want for an affordable monthly fee – this does not necessarily mean the “latest and greatest” device, as even pre-owned devices can serve customer demand. The key to success in a saturated market is consumer choice, after all.
Regardless of the type of phone leased, using our services, consumer lifecycle can then be managed, with an on-going upgrade process giving them the device most suitable for their needs, now, at an affordable monthly fee.
Giving the consumer what they want can also mean providing a package of products and solutions built around their individual lifestyle. That might be insurance to provide peace of mind, or perhaps a suite of accessories such as cases, headphones or high performance audio products, all of which Brightstar is expertly positioned to provide.
Finding the right balance in a highly competitive and saturated mobile market is not an off the shelf solution but Brightstar’s experience and capabilities in all aspects of the product lifecycle mean we as a company are ideally suited to developing compelling propositions.
Brightstar is uniquely placed to offer financial services coupled with robust logistics and reverse solutions; these combined can help and free up our partners’ resources to concentrate on the challenges and opportunities ahead in the next three years. And as we know, the wireless industry will not be short of either.