Having read through a number of recent market reports on the current status of the mobile telecoms industry, it comes as no surprise that, at the end of 2015, the worldwide shipment of smartphones hit record levels, surpassing 1.4 billion for the year. This is an increase of more than 10% from the previous year and, assuming this trend continues, we could be looking at more than 6.4 billion smartphone users worldwide by 2020, up from the 3.4 billion total seen in 2015.
The near ubiquity of mobile devices has created a virtuous cycle: More and more users of mobile devices need more and more capabilities. At the same time, the availability of more capabilities on mobile devices has in itself attracted more users. This impact is felt not only by the device manufacturers, who compete head-to-head with each other to capture mobile device market share, but also the service providers, who are responsible for delivering all available mobile content and, ultimately, the user or customer experience. But there are 2 things service providers can’t really control—and continually look for better ways to manage.
One is the performance of service content, be it voice or data, outside of the home network. Remember that the service provider, in many instances, only provides a connection or pipe from the device to some externally hosted service (or, in the case, of voice, to a recipient who may reside on another network). If that service is unavailable or performs poorly in the eyes of the customer, it is often the service provider who is blamed—not the content provider.
The other issue is the performance or quality of the mobile device itself. Today, mobile customers are spoiled for choices and, depending on their territory or location, most will have access to multiple service providers, each offering the latest in mobile device technology along with a range of contracts and tariffs. With most contracts having a duration of only 12 months, it’s not uncommon for users to switch service providers as their contracts expire in order to get access to the latest device model. This can be for a number of reasons, including simple brand perception or value and, of course, the desire to have the most competitive package and price. But there are also several factors around mobile device quality that can prompt a user to look for a replacement, factors which then result or limit the customer experience when accessing the mobile services they subscribed for.
This year at MWC Shanghai, Empirix will be showcasing our Device Analytics solution, part of our Customer Experience Assurance (CEA) portfolio. The solution has been developed for use by a service provider to manage the performance of all mobile devices utilized on their network while troubleshooting customer-affecting issues. The solution is aimed at customer, service and product management personnel and is designed to allow service providers to better manage device manufacturer SLAs as well as play a major part in their customer experience management strategy. The outcome is a solution capable of improving not only the customer service experience, but also directly impacting the bottom line.