Friday, July 29, 2011

Tesco boosts coverage in stores

Okay, their goal probably wasn't specifically to 'boost coverage', but this week, Tesco, the UK’s largest retailer, announced it began trialing free Wi-Fi throughout its stores.  

I’m sure Tesco can use Wi-Fi for many internal inventory and store management requirements.  Plus I suspect they want to try location-based things to put ads on people’s smartphones as they walk the isles.

But for Orange UK subscribers with Signal Boost, Tesco just made sure everyone gets great in-building coverage when they are doing their shopping.  

You don’t need a femtocell for that.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Smartphone owners are savvy about their Wi-Fi and want more of it

The proof is in the survey of 420 smartphone owners in the US that we commissioned in May 2011 and was conducted by MarketTools® Zoomerang®:
  • 74 percent of smartphone users in the United States are interested in a mobile operator-provided service that uses Wi-Fi to provide lower cost calls.
  • 72 percent of smartphone users are interested in an application that uses Wi-Fi to improve cellular coverage.
  • Nearly nine out of 10 (89%) of respondents have smartphones with Wi-Fi.
  • 77 percent have Wi-Fi at home; 54 percent have it at their place of work.
  • 62 percent of people who own smartphones with Wi-Fi use the Wi-Fi four or more days each week.
  • 30 percent say they use Wi-Fi because it is faster than the cellular network; 19 percent because it is easy to access the internet.
  • 30 percent have smartphones with a Google Android operating system (OS); 26 percent use Apple iPhone OS; and 22 percent use a RIM OS.
As we all read about in tech and general publications regularly, smartphones have become the dominant mobile phone technology, and their users have aggressively embraced Wi-Fi for a variety of reasons. This trend appears to be continuing on its upswing with no sign of abatement.

Cost and coverage continue to be key issues plaguing the mobile industry, and solutions that address those issues are of great interest to subscribers. This survey finds that subscribers are truly interested in utilizing Wi-Fi capabilities more and are open to operator-provided services.

There are plenty more stats and information about customers by operator and by smartphone type available at

If you've been following this blog for a while, you may recall that Kineto commissioned similar 2010 smartphone surveys in the US and UK.

Do these 2011 survey results coincide with what you think is going on in the market? Tell us what you think and what in the comments.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Amplifying Orange UK's Signal Boost

Did you read about the event, Amplify 2011, we hosted in June in London for media and analysts? It was an opportunity for us to talk about Smart Wi-Fi and for Orange UK to talk about it's successful Signal Boost service.

Watch this video from the event:

I've written before about some of the highlights from the presentation by Orange UK's Director of Product Marketing Paul Jevons. Read more about them in my previous post about the event.

Some other highlights from the evening that you can watch and hear for yourself in the video include:

- Kineto showcased some of the nearly 30 Android devices on which our Smart Wi-Fi application is available, including smartphones from Huawei, HTC, Samsung and LG.

- Jevons talks about how "brilliantly simple" Signal Boost is because of the Smart Wi-Fi app

- Jevons talks about Everything Everywhere's plans to "roll that [Signal Boost] out across the T-Mobile base in the UK later this year."

- Orange UK reports "genuine and material improvements" in customer satisfaction and retention

- 80% of customers say it is easy to set up and really easy to use; and more customers say it's becoming an influence in their decision of handsets

Watch the Amplify 2011 video for more. After you see it, come back here and let me know what you think. Did you learn anything new?

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Pitfalls and the mystery of femtocell deployments

Reporting from Avren's Femtocell World Summit, Light Reading's Michelle Donegan captured some of the pitfalls of femtocell deployments.
"Thilo Kirchinger, Vodafone's principal connected home manager, said that the need for indoor voice coverage is the trigger for most customers to buy a femtocell."
It remains a mystery why a consumer would 'buy' a femtocell. But as long as they are being sold, femtocells will be relegated to a 1% solution.
Mr. Kirchinger also commented that "data offload is not a proposition that can be sold to customers."
No surprise here, customers don't care about offload, that's strictly an operational benefit. The trick is creating incentives that change user behavior. T-Mobile US now offers free calls over Wi-Fi as incentive to get subscribers to use Wi-Fi and reap the benefits of offload.
"Vodafone Greece's new products, innovation and wholesale group product manager, Polychronis Tzerefos, said that femtocells are a customer-retention tool, not an acquisition tool, and that operators should expect to subsidize them heavily."
I think the consensus in many other markets is that femtos work best for retention - as a tool for the 'save queue'. Complain you plan to leave your operator, and they overnight a femtocell to your house. The math is easy.

Putting a femto in a pre-sales retail environment raises some uncomfortable questions. If your coverage is so great, why do you have a femtocell product? If I have coverage problems, will you give me a femto?
"Among the technical challenges the operator encountered, Tzerefos said there is lot of integration to be done with existing business systems, customer relationship management, business intelligence and customer self-care portals."
This is a story we've heard time and time again. Many focus on the cost of the femtocell as the key item, but there is a tremendous amount of back-end integration and cost associated with deploying them.
"And as for marketing the femto service, Tzerefos shared that there was much internal debate about, "How do you sell the customer coverage when you're supposed to have the best coverage in Greece? How do we explain they need a solution?"

And this is the beauty of a Smart Wi-Fi solution. It's an application that puts the customer in charge. If they have coverage problems, they can use their Wi-Fi to fix it. In today's self-service environment, this is one message which resonates clearly.