Broken Guitars and Broken Promises

How Customer Service is Being Transformed by the Growth of Mobile Messaging   

The world watched in astonishment a few weeks ago as a video surfaced of a United Airlines passenger being physically dragged from a plane after he refused to give up his seat on an over-booked flight. The airline’s initial response was almost as catastrophic a PR disaster as the actual event, going into detail on the policies and procedures, but showing none of the human compassion that all of us would expect from a brand that purports to care about its customers.

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Is Amazon Chime Poised to Disrupt the Workplace?

Key Takeaway: Given numerous entrants into the videoconferencing sector from established and emerging technology companies—including the recent introduction of Amazon Chime—the market leader position in this space is up for grabs. We at Market Strategies have a lot of questions about how the sector is growing and transforming. How prevalent is videoconferencing? Which platforms are being used? What do companies need to focus on to make their platform ubiquitous?  In this article, we will share our data and insights on the players in this space, including the number one thing a company must do to come out on top.

Videoconferencing technologies have been around for more than a decade, but we have seen them take off with our clients in the past year. We enjoy being able to visually interact with our clients and colleagues so we set out to conduct our own research study to learn more about the experience. While analyzing the results, we were surprised by the introduction of Amazon Chime, which promises “frustration-free online meetings with exceptional audio and video quality.” Why would Amazon enter this market now, with Skype and Hangouts being around for years? Is it insightful or redundant? Will a majority of users asking their colleagues to ‘Skype’ or ‘Hangout’ now ask them to ‘Chime?’

Our data suggests Amazon’s move is insightful. While Skype and Hangouts are certainly popular, there is plenty of room for additional competitors especially since no one seems to have worked out all of the technology bugs. And with a majority of users not wedded to any single platform, Amazon (or another disruptor) has plenty of opportunity to grab market share.

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The Fight for Today’s Video Consumer: How to thrive in a rapidly evolving industry

Today’s Video Consumer

Editor’s Note: This is the first of a three-part series on understanding the streaming video consumer. Be sure to bookmark FreshMR so you don’t miss an issue!

It wasn’t long ago when consumers had three choices for video consumption: free TV (using antennas), paid cable TV, and, if going with cable, whether to add a movie channel like HBO. There was little competition, little innovation and very few choices. What a difference a few years makes!

Those simple days are almost unrecognizable in today’s chaotic, cluttered video world.  Sure, consumers can still view local broadcasts over-the-air, but the insatiable appetite for content has dramatically increased our options. Having so many options can be overwhelming to customers but also confusing to the telecommunications and entertainment companies that provide and deliver content.

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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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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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I’ll Take My TV A La Carte, Please!

2015-10-tv-a-la-carteThe buzz around picking your television packages a la carte in the future is getting louder. As a consumer, would you prefer to pick and choose the channels you watch, paying for only what you want, or do you prefer the current set up of pre-packaged channels, including those which you may or may not ever watch? It seems that big cable/satellite companies are worried about the implications of providing an a la carte television package to its customers, and they have been fighting it over the last few years. The potential option of having more choice and control over the channels consumers purchase could change the entire industry, and that may be exactly what many consumers desire.

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Market Research Musings from a Cord-Cutter Newbie

2015-04-cord-cutterNearly a year ago, my life changed drastically when a tornado destroyed my family’s home. We moved into an apartment while we rebuilt and had many decisions to make, including whether to keep our home telephone number. We decided to keep it in case those who didn’t know what happened tried to reach us or in case certain accounts were tied to it. However, it didn’t take long to realize that, even under these different circumstances, the “home phone” is not as necessary as we had once thought—the only people calling that number were my mother-in-law and telemarketers.

Fast forward to a couple of months ago: we were ready to move into our new house, and, after seeing such little usage over the past nine months, we decided to “cut the cord.” This turned out to be a little difficult in some ways—that number had been a part of us for more than 20 years, and we wondered how we would call our cell phones to find them when they get lost in the couch.

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The Foreseeable Consequences of #NetNeutrality

Net Neutrality AheadThe FCC has taken a firm stand on Net Neutrality, making it clear that internet providers cannot sell access to “fast lanes” on their networks. The news media and other consumer advocate talking heads have been chiming in from all directions trying to convince the public why this is either the best thing or the worst thing that has happened since the creation of the internet. There are merits to both sides, but there are definite logical consequences of the FCC’s ruling that internet providers would be well advised to consider.

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Gimme 5: What to Expect from 5G Wireless Networks

Rumbles from La Rambla

If you are even remotely associated with the telecom and tech industries, you will know that this is the week of Mobile World Congress (MWC). No time for gazing at Sagrada Familia or long strolls on La Rambla—all attention in Barcelona will be on the latest developments in telecom, with keynotes from some of the biggest names in the industry, plenty of new smartphone launches and perhaps even the opportunity to test the odd smart car or two.

What makes the 2015 event particularly notable is that this is the year that fifth generation (5G) wireless network technology will really gather momentum. Both the Next Generation Mobile Network alliance and the European Commission are revealing the details of their respective 5G white papers, and major equipment manufacturers such as Ericsson, Huawei, Alcatel-Lucent and ZTE will all be discussing and demonstrating the results of their early forays into 5G. While the first commercial 5G networks are only anticipated to launch shortly before the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, the next five years will undoubtedly witness a growing frenzy of development and standardization, and that frenzy is kicking off now.

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Telecom Trends to Watch For in 2015

The stage is set for 2015 to be a chaotic year of rapidly shifting landscapes for the telecommunication industry. While nobody can predict with absolute certainty what the future will bring, here is a rundown of some of the more likely scenarios:

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