Complex rate plans

Simply providing a voice-and-data pipe out to a customer and collecting a monthly fee no longer is a viable business model. Savvy mobile operators realize this and are deploying OSS/BSS solutions that enable them to analyze how prepaid, postpaid and hybrid customers are using their network and then creating tailored promotions and tariffs tailored to specific customers, the more personal the better.”
Beau Atwater
in an article on BillingWorld.

Beau talks above about the increasing complexity of B/OSS as well as the underlying networks and suggests that complex rate plans are also following.

That is true and perhaps the trend is evident but interestingly, I wonder whether the solution is actually increasing simplicity. For example, elaborate rate plans are beneficial to the CSP’s ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) but I suspect that complexity is counter to what most customers want.

Using Beau’s example, I would rather have a service that has a charge with no or limited variation. I don’t want to get massive bills at the end of a month for excessive roaming or usage. In simple terms – No bill shock means less chance of social media meltdowns in customer advocacy of the CSP. The ARPU might be lower, but by my way of thinking this is counter-balanced by the increased market share who want simple.

Obviously there are many different types of business model. There are many highly successful organisations across a range of industries where simplicity is the differentiator just as there are models where premium service is the differentiator.

Beau is right that the network and B/OSS are definitely getting more complex and the field of analytics is advancing to provide more valuable insights from increasing data volumes. However, I feel that the CSP and their B/OSS should be buffering that complexity from the customer and making simpler products and rate plans for them.

ARPU is a popular metric in our industry, for obvious reasons. I’m all for advanced analytics, but am I missing the point in this discussion about complexity vs simplicity?

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