Telecom innovation: lots of talk, little action!

Lack of innovation is one of the top killers of big companies. I am disappointed with my telecom service provider. For example, I use

Lack of innovation is one of the top killers of big companies. I am disappointed with my telecom service provider. For example, I use an Apple iPad model MC775./A. It has an option for cellular data, which I use to connect to the Internet in addition to Wi-Fi.

For the last two years, it is frustrating renewing cellular data when it expires. The process is so manual and tiresome.

You have to know your Cellular Data Number (as you cannot check it on your iPad), visit the airtime reseller and then ask them to load Internet. Or you could pay for the renewal via mobile money; and then do a couple of manual processes to have the data on your iPad. Either way, the manual options are not available on the iPad you are trying to load. You have to do it on another phone, and send the data to the iPad!

Unlike smart phones, basic functionalities to view your cellular data number is not available on the iPad. Even you don’t get any notification that your data is about to expire, prepare to renew! This makes Internet renewal process tiresome.

The solution

Develop an iPad app for automatic Internet renewal. With members of parliament getting free iPads; that is a good market to target.

Great companies focus on innovations that deliver customer convenience and a wonderful experience to them.

Imagine having an app for Internet renewal. Instead of going through all those manual processes, I just hit renew and alas it is done.

Can you imagine that if you don’t have your mobile number (cellular data number) in your head or written somewhere, there is no option to check it out on your iPad? I have tried and tried to check the number in vain.

One of the setbacks of iPad is that the SIM card has to be resized to fit, and the process of inserting and removing is as hard as a rock. You have to use an external pin to pull it out! The iPad has not provision to slide the card out. I hope this glitch was fixed in the later releases.

I hope telecoms engages more University students to develop apps and APIs that will make life easier.

As companies expand, they reach a stage whether further growth comes from serious thinking. And focusing on retention through enabling convenience is the way to go.

As I have said earlier, every telecom has mobile money. Winning telecoms must look at mobile money as a platform (not a primary revenue earner) if they are to grow.

You can look at mobile money as a platform by enabling integration and interoperability. The single most transaction I would love to do via my mobile money account is:

Transferring my money on the bank account directly to my mobile money account, and vice-versa. This way, I don’t have to visit the bank.

That is the service we are all waiting for. And telecoms stand to make more money in interconnect charges.

That why successful telecoms should establish an innovations department as a matter of urgency. The department is to encourage staff and general public to bring ideas and they work on them to see which works.

Why innovate?

Great innovations address a particular challenge or problem. (1) You first get closer to the customers and users of your services. (2) You ask for what they would love changed to enjoy your services or any improvements they would love to see; (3) You have your team find great solutions (low cost, convinience and easy to use) to fix the challenges raised; (4) You ask the public and any one out there with a great idea and give them opportunity to leverage.

All telecoms should have open APIs to encourange people to think and develop solutions that will keep them relevant.

Happy 2014!

Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, 2014. All rights reserved.

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