All iWant: Putting iPhone 7 Rumors to the Test

Putting iPhone 7 Rumors to the Test

This summer has seen no shortage of analyst reports of what the soon-to-be-released iPhone 7 will look like and what features it will (and will not) possess. Continuing what has become an annual frenzy of leaks and predictions, rumors are flying about its multiple screen sizes, memory capacity, camera quality, headphone jack and water resistance. Most notably, some speculate that there may not be any dramatic changes at all as Apple waits for 2017 to release a world-changing 10th anniversary iPhone 8.

Market Strategies International decided to put all these rumors to the test to find out which ones really resonate with consumers and which do not. We asked more than 1,100 consumers about their current phones and preferences among the most frequently rumored iPhone 7 features, including:

Screen features
  • Larger screen
  • Smaller screen
  • Curved screen
  • Wraparound screen
  • Better screen quality/resolution
Memory/Storage features
  • More memory (the latest iPhones have 2GB RAM)
  • More storage space (the latest iPhones have a maximum of 128GB)
  • Expandable storage capacity
Internal features
  • Faster processors
  • Electronic SIM chip
  • Longer-lasting battery
  • Wireless charging
External features
  • Thinner
  • Lighter
  • Waterproof
  • Two speakers (the latest iPhones only have one)
  • Different color options
  • Higher quality camera
Other features
  • USB connector (Micro USB or USB Type-C)
  • Available stylus/pen
  • No headphone jack (the latest iPhones have a standard 3.5mm headphone jack)
  • Virtual reality headset

 Who Wants to Buy the iPhone 7?

Several of the findings are quite intriguing and have significant implications for telecom leaders. One thing is for sure: The difference in iPhone 7 needs and wants varies greatly based on customers’ current make and model, wireless carrier and brand loyalty. Understanding who these customers are and what differentiates their interests in upgrading to the iPhone 7 is of paramount importance when developing messaging campaigns, forecasts and product roadmaps. In our report, iPhone 7 Market Landscaper, we explore these differences and provide the data telecom leaders need to optimize their marketing plans. Download iPhone 7 Market Landscaper now or contact Greg Mishkin, vice president of Market Strategies’ Telecommunications division for more information.

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My Life of Fi

My Recent Experiences with Project Fi from Google

My Life of Fi

As your spring social calendar went from St. Patrick’s Day parties to the festivities of Cinco de Mayo, you might have overlooked another recent celebration in the telecommunications space. Project Fi (“Fi”), a very different wireless service from Google, recently celebrated its first birthday, and quietly went from being an invite-only beta to throwing open its doors to all US wireless subscribers.

Google launched Fi with minimal fanfare in the spring of 2015, positioning it as a new take on the traditional wireless model. Instead of relying on connectivity from cellular towers, smartphones on the Fi service will prioritize any available Wi-Fi connection for their voice and data traffic. Only on the occasions where Wi-Fi signals are weak or unavailable does the Fi service switch seamlessly over to the cellular networks of its partners—T-Mobile and Sprint—and then runs like a traditional mobile virtual network operator (MVNO).

Google has long known that most of us spend the majority of our waking hours connected to Wi-Fi, and so is cleverly stringing together millions of hotspots as its “network” and only using cellular for a fraction of the average subscriber’s voice and data usage. In doing so, it is able to leverage existing free infrastructure and forego the massive network investments of traditional wireless providers, and subsequently can pass those savings on to its subscribers.


Project FiProject Fi: How it Works

At the heart of Project Fi is the concept of dynamic network selection—the service intelligently connects the subscriber to the best available network at their location, whether it’s Wi-Fi (the majority of the time) or one of either T-Mobile or Sprint’s 4G LTE networks.

Fi offers a single, no-contract plan. It’s $20 for the base service, which includes unlimited calls and text, and then $10 for each 1 GB of data. The novel part is that the subscriber only pays for the data that they actually use. So if you prepay for (say) 3 GB of data, but only end up using 2 GB, Fi refunds you $10 for the unused 1 GB. Similarly, if you have a 1 GB plan but end up using 3 GB after streaming that NBA playoff game, you’ll only get charged $20 for the extra 2 GB. No overage penalties or price escalations.

The plan also has an attractive international component. It includes free international texts, and for those who travel abroad and have been burnt by roaming charges in the past, there is comfort in knowing that the exact same data costs apply in over 120 countries.

The only catch is that Project Fi is currently limited to Google Nexus phones only. They currently sell the Nexus 6P (from Huawei) starting at $499 and the Nexus 5X (from LG) starting at $199.


In theory, it is a brilliant design, but how well does it work? Well, let’s find out.

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What Modern Romance Can Teach Us About Generational Research

tech-modern-romanceI was recently inspired by Aziz Ansari’s book Modern Romance—a well-researched, insightful look into the rapid changes in modern social life: meeting, dating, coupling, cheating, uncoupling. His book provides many great lessons about a changing world, perhaps none more so than his concept of a “phone world” which many of us now regularly inhabit:

“Through our phone world we are connected to anyone or everyone in our lives, from our parents to a casual acquaintance whom we friend on Facebook. For younger generations, their social lives play out through social media sites like Instagram, Twitter, Tinder, and Facebook as much as through campuses, cafes, and clubs. But in recent years, as more and more adults have begun spending more and more time on their own digital devices, just about everybody with the means to buy a device and a data plan has become a hyper engaged participant in their phone world”.

The advancement of technology, including its adoption and influence, is moving fast—fast enough to reshape our thinking about how to best approach generational research. We often consider Millennials—those roughly age 18-34—as a homogenous group. Yet, there are distinct differences in technology device usage and technological perceptions between those in emerging adulthood (18-24 years old) and those in young adulthood (25-34 years old). These groups are adopting technology differently, and we need to approach them as distinct segments, particularly when conducting technology research.  Continue reading

Will content providers hold telecom carriers hostage?

Will content providers hold telecom carriers hostage?

A few weeks ago, I wrote a Point-Counterpoint article with my good friend, colleague and sparring partner, Paul Hartley, which focused on fast lanes, free lanes and net neutrality. Interestingly, this topic has become big news again—albeit with a very unexpected twist.

It came to light that Netflix has been downsampling or degrading the quality of the content it delivers to AT&T and Verizon networks (yet not to Sprint or T-Mobile), not because these carriers want Netflix to do so but rather because Netflix feels it is in its own best interest.

On the surface, this may appear counterintuitive. Why would Netflix want to deliver lower quality video to the two largest mobile carriers in the US? Their logic is interesting–Netflix believes that AT&T’s and Verizon’s business model, which allows for overage charges if customers exceed their data caps, will discourage customers from wanting to stream movies for fear that overages will kick in. T-Mobile and Sprint, for the most part, don’t assess overage charges when customers exceed their data allowance—rather they throttle down the network speed to limit how much additional data can be effectively downloaded.

There are valid arguments on both sides of whether it is better to throttle or charge for overages, and this is not what I intend to debate here (although Paul and I may take this up in a future Point-Counterpoint article). Rather, the fact that Netflix is even able to do this because it’s not bound by net neutrality rules raises a very important issue that needs to be acknowledged and addressed.

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Net Neutrality: Fast Lanes vs. Free Lanes

Telecom Showdown

Editor’s Note: This is round one of Point-Counterpoint, a new blog series that pits two feisty telecom experts against each other in the ultimate industry showdown. Let’s get ready to rumblllllllllllllle!

Americans’ thirst for streaming video and audio content is growing exponentially. Not long ago, one or two gigabytes of data were more than anyone could reasonably need from their phones. But as the options for streaming increase and the quality and speeds improve, the average smartphone user has started to pay close attention to data limits.

T-Mobile was the first major carrier to address data limit concerns with Binge On in November of last year. Binge On allows users to stream video from participating content providers without counting against data caps. Verizon followed in January of this year with a very different approach of getting content to subscribers’ devices: Its FreeBee data program allows content providers to sponsor specific data content so that sponsored data isn’t debited against the end user’s cap. Shortly thereafter, AT&T reintroduced unlimited data plans for customers who also subscribe to DirecTV services, reversing a five-year hiatus on AT&T unlimited data plans and joining several other carriers that offer unlimited data services.

It’s not clear the extent to which these zero-rating programs—or free lanes—benefit customers or are even allowable considering the FCC’s net neutrality rules. In this installment of Market Strategies’ Point-Counterpoint blog series, telecom experts Greg Mishkin and Paul Hartley debate both sides of this issue, demonstrating that there is not one “right” position.  Continue reading

Telecommunication Market Research: Syndicated vs. Proprietary

Syndicated vs. Proprietary

Most market research firms specialize in syndicated or proprietary (i.e., custom) research. Depending on the firm’s offerings, account reps usually give one-sided justifications why their approach is superior. Market Strategies has custom and syndicated practices so the purpose of this article is to present a more balanced view of the benefits and risks associated with each type of research as they relate to the telecom industry. We pose three key questions that will help you determine which type of research is best suited to your brand’s unique needs, and we explore why custom research may be more advantageous given current industry trends.

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Santa Baby, Please Bring Me Some Cash…or Perhaps a Laptop

Santa Baby

Recently I was listening to the incomparable Eartha Kitt singing her signature 1953 holiday tune “Santa Baby,” and I was marveling at the audacity with which she asked Santa for some pretty outrageous gifts. Eartha’s wish list spans multiple luxury categories, including furs (a sable, to be exact), vehicles (a ’54 convertible and a yacht), jewelry (a ring and some baubles from Tiffany), some property (a duplex and a platinum mine) and naturally some checks for making future purchases. In the tune, Eartha has an opportunity to influence the gifts she’s likely to receive, and she doesn’t hesitate to ask for the big stuff.

Listening to and talking about “Santa Baby” got us curious about what folks would want to receive now, in late 2015, if some benevolent gift-giver (whether Santa or someone else) was offering, and money was no object. We here at Market Strategies wanted to know what fantastic gifts Americans are yearning for this holiday season, so we ran a poll to find out. We asked 960 Americans the following:

If Santa or some other benevolent gift-giver were to bring you something, what would you be thrilled to receive? Please don’t take price into account in your response—assume you wouldn’t pay anything for the gift (including tax).

We included a long list of gifts across categories—technology, luxury goods, property, vehicles, vacations and experiences, and plain old cash. We also allowed folks to tell us they’d pass on a gift altogether (though only 3% did).

So what would Americans be thrilled to get this holiday season?

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Hold the Phone!

Not Everyone Hates Contracts   

Telecom Brand Love

Editor’s Note: This is the third post of a three-part blog series that examines how changes in the wireless industry have led to commoditization and what carriers must do to truly differentiate. Register for our December 17 Telecom Brand Love webinar now.

The past two years have brought a seismic shift in the US wireless telecom industry. Market Strategies has been writing about how this once highly differentiated marketplace has been transforming into a sea of beige, making it difficult for customers to differentiate between providers. T-Mobile is doing a brilliant job delivering on its brand promise to customers, but other carriers seem to be following suit instead of honoring their own brand promise. By jumping on the no-contract, one-size-fits-all bandwagon, carriers may be missing an opportunity to understand the generational and lifetime value differences of their own customers.

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To Contract or Not to Contract

Telecom Brand LoveEditor’s Note: This is the second post of a three-part blog series that examines how changes in the wireless industry have led to commoditization and what carriers must do to truly differentiate. Register for our December 17 Telecom Brand Love webinar now.

Living in a more rural suburb in Atlanta, I am used to not having the most cutting edge technologies available at my home. This is why I was incredibly excited to learn yesterday that AT&T was finally offering U-verse to my address—and, even better, it isn’t just standard U-verse but U-verse with GigaPower for Internet speeds up to 1Gbps! GigaPower is 40 times as fast as what I currently have with Xfinity, and the promotional pricing for GigaPower is actually $7 cheaper than what I currently pay.

Seems like a no brainer to fire Xfinity and sign up with AT&T, right? It’s not that easy.

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Why do dissatisfied customers stay with their wireless carrier?

Telecom Brand Love

Editor’s Note: This is the first post of a three-part blog series that examines how changes in the wireless industry have led to commoditization and what carriers must do to truly differentiate. Register for our December 17 Telecom Brand Love webinar now.

The best reason to remain a loyal customer is because you’re receiving exemplary service and support. However, looking at the American Customer Satisfaction Index, it is evident that wireless carriers are not overwhelmingly satisfying their customers. In fact, the wireless telecom industry scored lower for overall satisfaction than every other industry except for other telecom specialties (including ISPs, Pay TV and wireline phone) and the government. Despite these low ratings, the wireless industry continues to have extremely low churn rates. So, if customers aren’t satisfied, then what is driving low churn rates?

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