Policy control and WiFi provision drive customer retention and positive customer experience
Despite the predicted demise of WiFi with the adoption of LTE and its promise of “faster speeds and better experience”, we can all see that WiFi is as popular as ever. Sue Koch of Amdocs says, as consumers we recognise that WiFi has come into its own as the preferred access network to connect to our favourite applications and to stream content, anywhere… all the time.
In fact, in markets with high rates of LTE adoption, WiFi use has risen: 57% of traffic on 4G networks will be offloaded to WiFi by 2019 (Source: Cisco Visual Networking Index, 2014). Overall, more traffic will be offloaded from cellular networks (on to WiFi) than remains on cellular networks by next year – these are big figures.
WiFi is a key strategy for customer retention but it’s not just about footprint anymore It’s about improving customer quality of experience (QoE). That’s now the top driver for investing carrier-grade WiFi networks, according to Maravedis-Rethink/WBA, Real Wireless and other leading analysts. In fact, a study we commissioned with Real Wireless found that by 2018 carrier-grade hotspots will grow to 72% of all hotspots, and 85% of operators plan to invest in it by 2016.
But, best-effort WiFi is the current standard, providing little perceived value to users beyond basic free access. So how can operators build value for carrier-grade WiFi and differentiated WiFi services to increase retention and opportunities for new revenue?
Policy control can play a key role in managing and monetising the WiFi experience to increase retention and drive new revenues from add-on services, including:
- Shared wallet across access points – cellular and WiFi – to use a single data pool for customers to connect to their favourite apps.
- Data speed tiers tied to data plans – a range of speed tiers can be tied to a subscription package to improve the customer experience through seamless connectivity
- Quality of Service (QoS) tiers tied to data plans or application packages – service prioritisation can be guaranteed to customers for high-bandwidth traffic such as HD video.
- WiFi roaming passes – based on service plans, operators can provide free or low-cost roaming passes to limit data usage while outside of conventional coverage areas.
- Real-time notifications – based on subscriber plans, location and activity, operators can push out special offers for roaming passes, higher data usage limits, and speed boosts to improve the QoE.
- Ad insertions – operators can use information about a subscriber’s location and preferences to trigger offers for special discounts at partner retail shops and venues.
- Premium and Over-the-Top (OTT) content – premium speeds and QoS can be attached to access to mobile HD content such as high value services like sports and movie packages or popular OTT services like Skype. The offer could be something like: “Free HD packs for a day or other “try and buy” time-limited programme watching.
It’s worth noting that this approach can be adapted for business services. For SMB managed services, for example, operators can offer differentiated levels of service based things like: data transmission speeds, the ability to do temporary speed bursts, QoS and QoE, service prioritisation guarantees, locations, and roaming; charging more for higher levels of service or offering special promotions. Retail customers could even participate in programmes that align in-store buying behaviours to premium speed WiFi service.
Quality of Experience
Over and above policy control, QoE and intelligent offload is important for customer retention. Operators need to manage the customer’s WiFi experience by leveraging a broad set of data from the network and the subscriber to make the best end-to-end decisions about connectivity. Here’s our checklist:
- Real-time responses to unexpected connection events and temporary blacklisting of underperforming access points
- Network connections based on service tiers and QoE thresholds
- Switching to cellular in designated locations where WiFi coverage is poor
- Preference for premium WiFi when accessing bandwidth content
- Context-aware promotions based on preferences and locations
Customer retention is about marrying policy control with accurate and reliable WiFi provision to keep consumers happy. In the New World of Customer Experience™ – an era of rising customer expectations, intensified competition and service provider consolidation – operators need to deliver a multi-dimensional customer experience in order to succeed. This experience should be exciting, intelligent and influenced by a dynamic QoE, underpinned by a determination to accelerate business value.
The author of this blog is Sue Koch, director of Product Marketing –
Data Experience, Amdocs
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