Revenue generating opportunity from personalised mobile services

Almost a third of European mobile pre-pay subscribers have stated they would pay to be able to select their own phone numbers.

More than 30% of respondents in each country said they would be prepared to pay a premium for the ability to select their own number, depending on cost. The proportions are highest in France (45%) and Italy (43%).

Of those users who stated they would be prepared to pay a premium, around 25% said that they would pay between €6-50 (between £6 and £50 in the case of UK users). France had the most engaged set of respondents in this respect with 31% fitting into this category.

The new survey, from Evolving Systems, has revealed the potential for European telecoms operators to tap into new revenue streams by delivering number choice and other personalised service offerings to prepaid customers. The survey, carried out in spring 2010, polled the views and opinions of 500 prepaid mobile phone subscribers across the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

“These figures will give wireless operators food for thought,” said Evolving Systems’ CTO, Stuart Cochran. “If operators could convert these percentages of their prepaid mobile subscriber base to number personalisation, they would gain a significant incremental revenue source. There clearly is a potential market in these key European countries for personalized number selection and it is equally clear that this market remains largely unexploited so far.”

The survey finds that only a small proportion of prepaid users have ever been offered the opportunity to select their own mobile number. Just 13% of prepaid French users (and only 21% of those in Italy), for example, had been given this option when buying a prepaid SIM card.

When prepaid users are offered number choice, it is typically provided through a retail store. This option was the most popular route in every country surveyed apart from Germany. Very few subscribers had been offered a choice of numbers via their mobile phone screen. In Italy, just 3% of those prepaid users, who had ever been given the chance to select their own mobile number, had been offered it in this way.

Yet, when asked how they would like to choose the number, selecting it via the phone’s screen scored well. In the UK, it is clearly preferred to going into a retail store and being helped by a salesperson and in every other country surveyed it is at least competitive with that option.

According to Cochran: “This underlines the potential of a different approach to provisioning such as our own Dynamic SIM Allocation (DSA) solution, for example, that offers personalisation such as number choice to customers when they use a mobile device for the first time.

“In networks that are already offering number selection using DSA, we are seeing take up ahead of our expectations, driving revenue, with the potential to increase loyalty,” added Cochran.