Operators to adopt agile approach to pricing

Pricing and margins are now increasingly tight for operators and the challenge to create differentiation to attract new subscribers is building

Is pricing constrictive, or can it deliver creative marketing opportunities? Mark Windle, Director of Product Marketing, OpenCloud, says that operators can influence subscribers and increase margins by exploiting price, if they are comfortable modifying their systems without major technology overhauls. Operators can regain control of their marketing strategies, accessing several possibilities for genuinely incremental revenue, by offering price promotions that are not fixed into tariffs. Pricing-promotions help shape customer behaviour. Walking around a supermarket, you’ll find excess or limited shelf-life stock discounted for rapid sale. You will also see introductory offers supporting new product launches. The offers change as stock levels and customer demand varies.

Windle says that price, creatively adapted to an ever-changing market, can serve operators just as effectively as supermarkets. A flexible pricing platform can deliver quick-win or ‘spot’ promotions, generating tactical gains; stimulating service uptake or increasing usage. Such promotions effectively need intelligent control and targeting, ongoing innovation and the rapid and flexible implementation of fresh ideas. However, Windle says operators are not capable of charging like this.


Core charging systems

The risks, costs and time to implement one promotion on core charging systems would probably kill the business case for most operators. Traditional charging systems are badly aligned to such fast-paced operation. Furthermore, many operators have pre-paid and post-paid charging systems, doubling the time and cost for supporting promotions.

The answer is a scalable and flexible enabling platform to augment charging-interactions before they reach core systems. The flexibility of such an approach is derived from using the platform for specific services as required; stimulating use of SMS, MMS, data, voice, local traffic, on-net traffic or simply general usage. It may also be leveraged on particular service features such as conferencing.

Windle suggests that it’s time operators enjoy the benefits offered by adaptable price promotions. Competing on price alone offers no value for operators, but now there is a more positive way to exploit the influence price has over subscriber behaviour. New price-promotion tactics can help operators reach targets for new subscriber acquisition and certainly enable them to leverage price to create increased loyalty to combat churn. Crucially, such tactics can help meet, or even exceed, their revenue targets, pushing out promotions to some or all subscribers to stimulate service usage.

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