Building a Roaming retail experience that really works

October 5, 2016

Building Retail Tariffs is hard work. MNO’s have to balance wholesale costs and retail margins, hoping the subscriber will use the tariffs, avoid bill shock and ultimately talk about how great the tariff is to friends and family.

These days the Roaming Regulation in the EU has had a ripple effect on many countries, which are either self-regulating by competition (inspired by the EU) or regulated by state regulators pushed to take action by subscribers who want what EU citizens are getting.

But cost surprisingly is not everything. People know that you only get what you pay for and if the subscriber tries to reduce costs, usually there’s some expectation that service might not match their requirements. So, while they want low prices, nothing pleases a subscriber more than knowing what they will pay upfront and what they will get for it. What they look for is:

+ Transparent Pricing

Subscribers are satisfied that rates are lower, but still dissatisfied when they don’t have as much transparency on what their bill will be.

+ Ease of use

Subscribers are confused by tariffs plans and smartphones and their behaviour in roaming scenarios, mainly only using them when connected to Wi-Fi.

+ Coverage

Subscribers do not expect the same level of service as they receive at home - because they are not a direct subscriber of the visited network but they do expect coverage when they need it.

So these then are the basic goals an MNO should consider in delivering a retail experience for roaming. Yet many tariffs don’t work to achieve these simple goals. Because in truth it is hard to deliver retail tariffs which match cost and margin expectations for MNOs. Resulting in all kinds of tariffs and bundles that limit the subscriber, remind them how expensive Roaming can be (those friendly reminders you have reached your limit) and often pushing them to avoid Roaming if they can.

Lets take a look at some of the common scenarios we see in the market, our Retail Propositions Top Ten.

The Top Ten Retail propositions we see on the market

1. Unlimited offers, which are throttled after a certain usage.
2. Unlimited offers, which are limited in certain countries.
3. Limited offers which take advantage of lack of information about data consumption offering just below average consumption.
4. Limited offers which cover certain applications very well and so encourage usage in general, earning revenues from apps or content not covered in the offer.
5. Offers limited to certain services such as Voice and SMS.
6. Bundles which appear appealing to subscribers, but which only offer their full value when used to the full extent (where the MNO has sought to understand that the full extent is not realistically used by most subscribers) e.g. packages for 4 days when most trips may only be 2 or 3. Never packages that cover only a day.
7. Offers which cover ¾ of all key destinations in an area (and talk about that area as covered) but not all, ensuring additional revenue for higher priced locations.
8. Great roaming solutions which are on an Opt-in basis which is often hard to detect or sign-up to.
9. Offers which include Wi-Fi but Wi-Fi options are limited.
10. Offers which are sold as LTE but may only be GPRS or 3G service.

Many of the above propositions offer compelling margins for MNOs but do not always support the Subscribers basic goals.

At the end of the day, as a Retail Product manager what you have as your wholesale cost and what the market competition or regulation says you can charge is what you have to play with. If you cannot find a strong connection with the subscriber based on your proposition then you may lose that subscriber altogether.

But there is an alternative, and it’s not based on Wi-Fi services but on GSM Roaming.

UROS has defined a solution based on its own GSM Wholesale Roaming deals that are some of the best in the market. Its solution offers a new type of Roaming offering that takes away the confusion of smartphone and tariff complexity and brings true transparency to the user. It does all of this while offering international coverage that is pretty exceptional.

As you can see, alternatives to the traditional Roaming solutions on the market are not a gimmick or a fad, but a successful new way to engage subscribers with Roaming. Noted by many MNOs as an “excellent” and “reliable” solution, companies are finding a new way to roam and a new relationship with their subscribers.

Ask us about what MNOs are saying about our solution and our devices and the new options it is bringing to their subscribers.

Hanne Mattinen

HR Manager

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