Wednesday, 29 December 2010

The truth about 3 digit Mobile Network Codes (MNCs) E.212

Despite the title, I don't know the full truth about Mobile Network Codes and whether they can be 2 digit or 3 digits long. However, I'm getting an ever bigger suspicion no one really does. So after talking to experts from various telco's and standardisation organisations for more than a year and just before I head into a new world, I thought I write down everything I've learned about Mobile Network Codes as defined in ITU recommendation E.212. This is not all there is to know and I hope others will chime in. There is so much misinformation and Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt, that it is hurting the development of the industry as a whole. I do have the sincere feeling, I'm the first person in a decade to fundamentally look at these numbers and the impact they have on the telecommunications market. I haven't seen any studies by any other researcher looking at these numbers at all. (Please prove me wrong, I would so love to see some other nutcase who looks at this stuff in-depth, preferably one who is way better than me and teaches me something new).

You're a policy maker and you need to know what to do
Before dismissing the potentially billions of euros of unrealized potential in the market and not changing a damn thing to the way MNC's are assigned, please ask a very very good and honest researcher to look into this. As far as I know there is no reason to be against this plan. But I am one person. I'm often right, but I may not be. After a year of searching though nobody I met who has serious mobile network knowledge has said I'm seriously bonkers and it cannot be done. Here is what I know. Don't be afraid to be critical. Do know, no one is paying me for this position. 

A Mobile Network Code is digits 4 to 6 of a 15 digit IMSI. 
As you may know, your SIM-card carries a unique number, the 15 digit IMSI number. (there are more unique numbers for an IMSI, but this is the important one). This number is used in the network to identify the mobile subscriber. Based on the IMSI the network knows whether the SIM should be allowed access, the type of access it should be granted and where to route the bits too.

The pre-paid SIM-card from the Dutch supermarket MVNO Albert Heijn I bought yesterday as a temporary replacement has IMSI: 204122030140166. Decoding it leads to the following knowledge:

  • 204 is the Mobile Country Code of the Netherlands. Why it is necessary for mobile networks to know countries, I don't know. But it is in the spec. There are some operators like Digicel, who use one MCC 338  for their whole network in many different countries, deeming it too hard to work with an MCC for every Caribean Island and technically speaking they are right. Vodafone could easily use on MCC for all nations it operates in. Nothing breaks if you use an Italian MCC in Vatican city. Though it somehow is against best practices and the ITU doesn't like you doing it and wants operators and regulators to report extra territorial use of MCC's and MNC's
  • 12 is the Mobile Network Code of Telfort. This used to be an indepent MNO with its own mobile network. It was bought by KPN, who switched of Telforts network and now Telfort is an MVNO on KPN's network. MNC's are issued by national regulators. In Vatican City this may well be Radio Vatican or the pope himself. The combination of MCC and MNC uniquely identifies the network. The E.212 spec says that the number can be 2 or 3 digits long. In Europe it is two digits long. In the rest of the world Wikipedia seems to show 3 digits are used as well. For instance Honduras, Columbia and the United States. 
  • 2030140166 is the Mobile Subscriber Identitification Number: In this case it is 10 digits long, per the standard it could also be 9 digits long. That gives every mobile operator at least a billion and up to 10 billion numbers. Though it could be issued completely at random, it does seem there is further logic in the number. For instance I heard that the first x digits are sometimes used to point at a specific Home Location Register, which keeps track of where SIM-cards are in the network. It seems HLR's can only accomodate x million devices per HLR. If you expect more than x million devices, using the first digits allows for easy internal routing of traffic.  Furthermore specific MVNO's, like my supermarket MVNO may get their own range, so maybe 2030 is unique to Albert Heijn. Again, if they grow, it becomes easier to shift them to different or dedicated HLR

Friday, 24 December 2010

Leaving Logica to go and work for the OECD in Paris

It is with mixed emotions that I’m telling you that I’m leaving Logica to go to work for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and development in Paris as an economist/policy analyst in the information, communications and consumer policy division. Logica has given me great opportunities to work in the fields of telecommunications and utilities. I had the pleasure to work on a variety of projects ranging from shaping the Belgian energy sector, to smart metering and Machine to Machine communications and the future of ENUM in the Netherlands.

I’ll start at the OECD on January 3rd, initially for a period of 13 months. I will work on the high level meeting on the future of the internet economy, which will be held in June, and on other subjects regarding telecommunications policy. It’s an exciting step. I don't know yet how this will affect this blog as I don't know the OECD's approach to new media yet. It might be that the blog and twitter will go on hiatus. 

I still hope to write two blogposts:
1. everything I know about 3 digit MNC's. There is hardly any information available about it and what is there is mostly misinformation
2. How we should get rid of the difference between public and private networks in most of our telecommunications law. 

And I'm tempted to write a third as a reaction to the Berec mobile roaming consultation

So many ideas, so little time. 

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Wrote an article for Gigaom on Apple and SIMs

Gigaom just published an article by me called: "How to bypass carriers Apple style", on what Apple could do with the SIM-idea I developed for M2M. Apple is only in there because of the marketing value, Samsung, Sony, Philips, LG, Asus, all of them could be doing this. It works best for laptops and other data devices. These devices often don't have data roaming enabled, even if you use a dongle.

Have fun reading it!

GIGAOM Readers: please have a look at some of the other articles I wrote on the topic:

Other things I wrote:

Thursday, 18 November 2010

The GSMA changes opinion on programmable SIM-cards

In a surprise move, the GSMA today announced that it will standardize a new form of embedded SIM. This will allow remote activation and updates.  The spec will be ready in January 2011. No word yet on whether or not the IMSI will be changeable after initial activation. This is however a complete reversal from the GSMA's position from the past:

Appendix A of 3GPP TR 33.812 V9.2.0 lists the opinion of the GSMA as
[…]Furthermore, one of the major concerns of MNOs is the potential weakening of the well-established and trusted SIM-based GSM/3G security architecture. Extended OTA (any kind and via any bearer of over the air data download to the USIM) capability to facilitate download of new subscriber keys and possibly authentication algorithms represents such a potential weakening of security.[...] not allowing MNOs to fulfil their obligations towards regulatory and other governmental authorities to guarantee secure authentication and billing.

[…]The only proposal in the TR that was acceptable to GSMA SG representatives was the Alternative 2 where operator change was performed by physical replacement of the UICC in the device.[…]

This would allow the likes of Apple to release mobile phones without removable SIM-cards. The biggest question is of course, why the GSMA changed its position and how much control they are willing to relinquish to the end-user, be they Apple or a smart metering company.

Though this will alleviate the problems I identified in my work on Machine to Machine communication, it's only 1 out of the 4 problems that I identified that now could be fixed (seeing is believing). Customers may be able to switch operators in the future, but roaming, national roaming and innovation, will probably still be limited.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

My presentation on M2M at Telco2.0 and my impression of the conference

Tuesday and Wednesday I was at the Telco 2.0 conference in London organised by STL. I was an invited speaker on the M2M track on Wednesday morning. Like many of you, I know the Telco 2.0 blog and knew of the conferences. Good friends in this community, like James Enck were on stage there before me. Other friends in this community stood at the basis of the Telco 2.0 ideas. So I was quite happy to be invited to the event.

Telco 2.0 on M2M
My presentation was part of the dedicated M2M track. Not all the attendants were there, but only those interested in M2M. The crowd was treated with a series of presentation from carriers and various forms of system integrators and suppliers.

What I found interesting in the telco presentations was, what they were and weren't about. What they weren't about is what their customers were doing and the problems that these customers were facing. What they were about is, potential use cases, the organisation of the telco's M2M unit and how it was embedded in the organisation and the design of the M2M platform. The whole reasoning was supply driven. Build it and they will have to come. As someone had warned a while ago, most telco diagrams of a problem start with their network in the upper left part of the page and the customer in the lower right part of the page. This is true. It also shows where their focus is; themselves, not their customer.

The difference between the telco's wasn't too great. Orange seems to go for a more fully integrated solution, where they will deliver the network, the platform and all sorts of other devices. Telenor has a dedicated group for M2M networking solutions, called Connexion and another group Objects that focus on service enablement, regardless of the network. So Connexion can sell to the whole market without involving Objects and vice versa.

Most of the presentations were at least of a decent quality and sometimes quite better. It deserves metntioning, because often this is different. However, the feeling these presentations give me in retrospect, is that of enormous budgets and very little idea of what the customer is looking for. This idea came from a remark by a quite brilliant and quiet Eastern European financial controller of a mobile telco, who remarked privately that his company just didn't have the size and the budgets necessary for such a platform, certainly given the 5 euro max revenue/month per SIM. This remark is so incredibly true. The large behemoths of European Telecoms are still swimming in the free cash flow. Free cash flow that is supposed to do something and might as well be spend on M2M. Running after every hype in the business, including M2M is not so much a necessity as it is a luxury.

The interactive format of Telco2.0 also means there was quite some feedback from the room, through instant polls. What it showed was that the audience was effectively split over the idea whether mobile telcos have a larger role to play  in the M2M ecosystem.

My presentation on how M2M customers becoming MVNO's
 I gave a presentation called "Your M2M customer wants to be MVNO". In generally the audience quite liked it. They thought it was thought provoking. I do think it was the most referenced presentation during the day. Both the facilitator and the speakers quite often referred to Rudolf or Logica. This was of course nice for my ego. I really focussed on the 4 central business problems and why becoming an MVNO was a solution.

What was also quite clear is that the industry really doesn't want to hear what I had to tell. The idea that a large scale M2M user is going to become a wholesale customer of the telco is just not done. There were some interesting comments why not:

Thursday, 28 October 2010

How regulator's and Telco's are holding up the Internet of Things

Well, I got quite a few reactions on my work on Machine to Machine communications. Some of it was critical and deserves a reaction. Many people however are also very positive. Bill St. Arnaud has referred to me multiple times now on his blog. Telco2 has invited me to speak in London on November 9-10. The Apple and Gemalto rumor stimulated me quite a bit more to finish the piece below. BTW I think Steve should talk to me.

I'll go through the criticism point by point. It starts of with that M2M is overrated and who really wants this. The next section is, that I misunderstood technology or misidentified solutions. Then a short intermezzo to explain that even if technology was a solution, it wouldn't solve all and then I lay all the blame on regulators. To get some background, flip through the presentation

BTW the spicy title is because it seems I get better response to spicy titles than to none spicy titles. Fear sells and I happen to know some regulators read this blog, so this may give them reason to forward the blog.

Where do we use M2M?
There are many ways of doing machine to machine communication. Much of it is already done in Scada systems and generally uses wired networks. One of these may be analysis systems for hundreds of thousands of sensors in chemical plants. All of this is wired communication. However unlike chemical plants most systems don't sit nicely in one place, they either move or are too distributed.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Virgin Media Speedtest: 50mbit only 2 percent more revenue.

As you know I've been arguing for simplifying the broadband offers to the French model of 1 price that gives the highest speed to all customers. My argument being this simplifies the marketing and the back office.

Chris Marsden spotted the Virgin Media broadband subscription numbers and notices that only 3% take the 50mbps subscription. Only 90,000 subscribers are willing to pay 10 pounds a month extra for the top of the line. Only 9 percent of customers take the 20Mbps version. So a grand total of 88% take the cheapest offer. The question then is, how much this brings in extra

Top of the line: 900k extra compared to the Medium and 1,350k per month compared to the simple version
Middle of the line: 3 million a month extra compared to the medium

So roughly 52 million pounds extra a year as the result of all that differentiation. All that compared to a quarterly revenue of 660 million for the cable business. A dismal 2 percent extra these customers bring in.

The biggest problem is to assess the costs side. Is it costing them more or less than 50 million to support the complexity. But I am willing to wager it is costing them in the double digit millions to support this. Just because everything they do has to keep in mind the three offers. It's not just the back office but also the print campaign. On top of it every temporary offer to tease the customer has to take this into account. It's a proper hassle.

So if this was a speedtest, would you really be racing for the 50Mbit offer to differentiate your product?

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Update: Dutch regulator OPTA threatens hotels offering internet to guests

Update: 28-10: Hotels aren't telecomproviders the OPTA has confirmed. It had approached 15 organisations. Only 3 organisations who delivered ISP services to multiple hotels were asked for extra information. Hotels, conference centers and installation companies who install hardware were not deemed telecommunications providers.

Update 14-10: Only 10 hotel. chains were asked. If some of them route their own internet traffic, ie have an AS number and routable traffic, then it may be that they do have to register. But it's a big if. See Webwereld, where I perform as a pundit

Just when I was writing a longer blogpost on the outdated distinction between public and private telecoms networks (related to M2M), here comes the Dutch regulator OPTA with a reason why we should have some form distinction. OPTA is of the opinion, after a public network complained, that hotels are offering a public network if they are offering internet to their guests. This means these hotels have to register with OPTA and pay 250 euro a year. What I find shocking is that OPTA isn't able to conclude by itself that the complaining public network was completely and utterly wrong. I also wonder why McDonalds wasn't mentioned as a major infringer.

I'll be speaking at Telco 2.0 on M2M, London, Nov. 9-10

I've been invited to speak at the Telco 2.0 EMEA event in London, Nov 9-10. My topic will be M2M and so I'll be part of the M2M session on the second day. Unfortunately this does mean I won't be speaking at the FTTH Forum in Budapest, which is on the same day, but that one comes recommended too. My attendance of the one and not the other is related to my employers interests.

I'll be speaking along the lines of the research I did for the Dutch government into M2M and the impact on telco business models. 

For those of you in London, I'm free to meet up on the 8th and possibly on the 11th. Drop me an e-mail or a phone call if you would like to. 

Friday, 8 October 2010

Killed! Milking someone else's customer: Fake voicemail.

Update October 12th: KPN has now killed the bad idea, because there were too many negative reactions.

KPN has come up with a brilliant way to make more money: Fake Voicemail, telecompaper reports. They need to, the financial targets are tough. (addendum: Friend of mine suggests it's a violation of common carrier status, or net neutrality. Interesting way to look at it. Imagine a fixed line and an answering machine, where this kicks in before the answering machine)

Normally if you call a mobile number and it isn't answered and the user hasn't activated the voicemail, after 90 seconds it will stop ringing. Now KPN has introduced a message after 30 seconds telling people that the phone isn't answered and that there is no voicemail. I call this fake voicemail. The fantastic thing of fake voicemail for KPN is that it can charge the 'termination rate' to someone else's customer (or its own customers for that matter), who hasn't asked for the message and was perfectly capable to understand that the other person didn't pick up the phone.

To keep you on the line longer and pay more, there is also a whole menu of options for those wanting to leave a message, that can be accessed through KPN's online portal etc. KPN is serious about this squeezing of someone else's customer and has announced it will come up with more types of services that incur a charge.

To me this just shows how easily exploited the termination rate system is and why it should be abolished altogether. The benefit of the service lies with the called network and the called person. Furthermore they have chosen to activate it on their network. If customers like this kind of service, let them become KPN customers.

I would suggest KPN to do a similar thing for all of it's fixed lines. The termination rate is less, but how hard can it be. :-) Other possible solutions would be to randomize the time the caller is sent to voicemail. Some people are way to good at guessing when to cancel the call and not be sent to voicemail. On it's own network it could send people reminder SMS's that inform them the person they called might now be available to take their call.

Another thing that bugs me is that even though termination rates are coming down, I don't see rates for calls to mobile coming down. Termination rates have dropped, but retail prices are remaining the same. It's still around 17 cents per minute to call mobiles.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

If TomTom were a country, its mobile penetration would rank between Gambia and Gabon (137th)

In the report I wrote for the Dutch government on M2M (or embedded wireless, or internet of things), quantifying the size of the market for M2M was one of the important issues. Today TomTom published some of its ambitions with real time traffic information and its HD traffic product in a Manifesto. As part of this they give a number of the amount of devices that are GPRS/UMTS enabled: 1.38 million!

If TomTom were a country, it would rank between Gambon and Gabon in terms of active mobile devices or 137th. Its goal is even more ambitious and that is to bring 20 to 25 million devices on the road, which puts it in the range of  The Netherlands, Australia and Taiwan, somewhere around 35th to 40th in the world rankings. Yes people, that would mean that TomTom would have more devices in the field than many European mobile companies.

M2M is going to be really big and it will change the relationships between telco's and M2M end users.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Logica report on switching costs for M2M (by me)

This last year I've worked on one of the most interesting subjects I've ever come across: Switching costs for Machine to Machine users (or embedded wireless as the GSMA calls it). The result is a report for the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs. It's about how a simple rule change in who can apply for numbers (E.212 and telephone) could open up a market for M2M communications. It would more or less remove the difference between public and private networks and result in a more flexible market, like we now already see for internet connectivity.

 Though I independently came to a solution, I can't claim I've thought of this solution first. That honor goes to at least 2 of my Logica colleagues in the Nordics and the UK or maybe to someone at Stratix consulting, but more likely someone somewhere, elsewhere. I do think I can now claim to have written the first full research in a public document on the subject. It's called "Onderzoek flexibel gebruik MNC's"(downloadable pdf, in Dutch). (and yes please put the links that prove this wrong in the comments, someone must have done this before, but I couldn't find it) :-)

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Wrote article for Ars Technica on Belgian broadcasters try kneecapping DVRs, demand compensation

I sent in a linktip to Ars Technica and was asked to write it up in English. With a little help from Inside TV International, who had the original letter, it became an interesting post. The short story is: Belgian broadcasters are mad about the use of DVR's in Belgium as it messes up their product, the full evening of TV. Say what? See the link:

Monday, 6 September 2010

Free lesson: KPN Fiber receives a death blow and Reggefiber is left with the mess

If you work in telecoms, read this and learn. This happens if you don't pay attention to detail and just because this is an incumbent doesn't mean it won't happen at your FTTH project. Pay attention or it might cost you your FTTH-dream. 

KPN must have had one of the worst nights in a while tonight. Their fiber offer was on TV in Dutch consumer advocacy programme Tros Radar. The words consumer advocacy say enough: Guilty and no way of proving yourself innocent on TV. The piece was lacking in some technical areas, but was damning in many others. The most damning, hidden camera footage of an actual purchase and install. Some of the claims:

  1. Fiber isn't always fiber. It's often VDSL2 where the fiber end only goes as far as the start of the neighbourhood. Fair enough, UPC does the same with Fiber Power (Docsis 3.0). But still, people claim they are cheated and the name "KPN Fiber" has now been tainted. 
  2. KPN's sales and billing are completely detached. People are told they will pay 65 Euro a month for the whole package and then find additional costs on the bill. Sales for instance promises a third IP-TV decoder, for which they are charged extra, just to get the sale. Customer service can then mop it up, but doesn't seem to be able to fix things straight away. 
  3. The technician who installs the technology in the home will do it all for a fee of 35 payable to the technician. THIS IS A NO NO. NEVER ALLOW THIS ON YOUR PROJECT. The technician quickly turned it into an extortion racket, a complete con job. He just claims that several things are not on his job list, like the third decoder. Also he says there is no electricity near the fiber drop (in The Netherlands the meter closet) and that that is extra. Everything that isn't on his list is some number at KPN and he can do it for half. Yeah yeah, so pretty soon the charges add up and he walks out with alot more and KPN doesn't need to know about it. Nice huh how people who work for you can F your product. I'm betting as of next week installation is free and KPN doesn't allow any money to be charged at all. The free bit is only because fixing the billing system to work with a 35 euro charge is more expensive than just giving installation away for free. 
  4. KPN uses a product it calls wireless to deliver the IPTV in the home. Of course it isn't wireless, it's actually some version of Powerline communications, probably Homeplug (I didn't Google it). Branded with KPN's logo, it doesn't actually perform as expected. Speeds are low. It isn't really wireless and brings unsightly plugs in the home. The nasty thing is that sales pushes it hard... probably to shift inventory and customer service tells people it is a lousy product. Yes, that's right KPN customer service knows its a rotten product and tells its customers so. 
  5. KPN's IP-TV service mine is shown on TV as malfunctioning. It doesn't do HD-TV at one customer and at an other the pause function is malfunctioning. It's not a nice picture. My wife asked me if it didn't do the same at our home, but that happened to be the DVB-T service of KPN called Digitenne. However, you can get the idea, if my wife thinks TV over FTTH is the same as DVB-T quality wise... than you're in deep trouble. 
  6. Other problems have to do with the entire delivery process. There was a customer whose telephone line couldn't be found, probably for VDSL. There was a customer who found out on delivery that the price was different as quoted. There was one who thought he would get HD-TV in the cheapest pack and didn't get it. 
  7. 1200 KPN Fiber customers were interviewed. 47% reported speeds weren't as promised. No explanation, probably because of the use of Wifi that speeds aren't up to snuff.. but try to explain that to a consumer. 
Now as said at the start, in this programme, you're guilty. Not even until proven innocent. They'll have a talking head lawyer tell you that this is against the law etc etc.They'll have the socially inept discuss your product. They have someone who "works in IT".  They'll tell people KPN uses coaxial cable into the home, whereas that's not the case of course. They won't look at the normal marketing material, which contains the caveats. They won't talk to people who are happy with what they got. But it doesn't matter. KPN messed up big time and it should have known it's too easy and too big a target not to shoot at. It's like painting a big bulls eye at the face of the CEO and then handing out pies at an amusement park. 

That said, KPN's partner Reggefiber, who installs the Glashart network KPN uses and pays for it out of its own pocket, must be fuming. The way to mess up a billion euro project like Reggefiber's is to have untrustworthy partners. Instead of the likely thing to happen, that one of it's minor service providers, like Solcon, Lijbrandt, Tweak, Concepts or one of the other one's messes up, it's the big one. The one that is known to every one in the country and it takes everyone with them. KPN paid for a 41% share and caused almost as much damage. 

Friday, 20 August 2010

Belgian hog uses 2.7TB, but how much money is that?

Ars Technica has the Belgian Bandwidth Hog story and even credits me, thanks Nate, but one element is missing, what does the little piggy cost?

2.7TBybte is roughly 9 mbit/s sustained traffic.

  • 1mbit/s/month of transit is $1 wholesale now in London and Amsterdam through Hurricane Electric -->9 dollar
  • If you would work with a day and night rythm for the traffic, where the average peak is about twice the average--> 18 dollars. --> do understand that an ISP like Telenet will use peering too, which would result in a lower bandwidth bill.
  • If you buy the traffic up front from a hosting company 20 euro per Terabyte retail --> 54 euro
  • If you need to buy the traffic because you went over the traffic you bought up front it's 50 euro per Terabyte retail. --> 135 euro

So the top downloader in Belgium is most likely still profitable to Telenet... though marginally

Friday, 13 August 2010

Video: Why all telecom marketing and product management is wrong

Last year I gave two presentations at eComm Europe. Both were captured on video. The first one, on interconnection and telephone pricing, was up for some weeks. The second one, on telecom marketing and product management, is now available for your viewing pleasure. It aligns well with my previous blog post on choosing simplicity. Please if you have any comments send them.

And the presentation slides are here:

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

New column on Nu Zakelijk: Choosing simplicity

I wrote a column on Nu Zakelijk for my employer: Logica. It's a combination of the Paradox of Choice (prof. Barry Schwartz)

and the Power of Free (Dan Ariely).

Both are very interesting concepts and linked to previous pieces I wrote on the greatest ISP in the world and why all telecom marketings and product management is messed up. Here is the Google Translation for those of you who think Dutch reads and sounds like a form of Klingon.

Choosing Simplicity

Released:August 10, 2010 8:39
Last edited:August 10, 2010 8:39

Simplicity can be very rewarding. Disappears as the stress in consumer choice and cost savings a business organization.

By Rudolf van der Berg | Logica
It seems that almost every town now has an "unlimited meals" Chinese-Japanese restaurant . The principle is simple enough, the customer is free to take from an unlimited buffet or ordering the dishes on the menu. There are some rules: drinks not included and a fine for food left over.
The choice of customer options are reduced to a choice: do we eat here tonight or not. Yes, there is also a choice of dishes, but the choice for one another court does not. It is this limited choice that the formula for other interesting businesses.


Choice seems good. Any marketer can you explain, you have your product in order to segment all product-market combinations to serve. An ideal marke produces for every consumer  the ideal product.
This requires not only a producer who knows what his customers want, but also a customer who knows exactly what his needs are and which supplier can meet these. And there lies his problem: many customers are not happy from a multitude of choices.


Scientific research shows that if a customer gets a lot of choices, the customer is less satisfied and chooses less . The paradox of choice that customers experience a stress choice and that choice stress leads to dissatisfaction with the choice (what else) and even to completely postpone a choice. (For a more detailed explanation, see this amazing video of Professor Barry Schwartz at TED).
That limiting choice in other sectors can work well, for example in France shown by ISPs. In the Netherlands can choose between a variety of subscriptions for different prices. The customer must choose between different Internet speeds, unlimited calling or not, or not HD Plus package.


In France, most, but Internet providers offer a quick internet with unlimited calls to landlines in France and many foreign countries and including HD TV. The customer receives a simple choice and do not go there to think about and thus avoids a lot of stress choice. This simplicity can also be achieved elsewhere.
Is the customer really waiting for a further tiered Internet, energy supply, zorgpolis or mortgage? Probably not. What customers want is, quick-acting and the Internet, a good insurance, stable energy prices and a fair mortgage.
The comprehensive simplicity translates to the supplier not only sell more, but also savings in the internal organization. A customer who is happy with the choice and no choice less stress, call the help desk, looks less at the competitor and the entire back office can be simplified.


An extra bonus for the organization to simplify its product offering a choice is the addition of the word free product. By simplifying the supply and simultaneously increase sales in the package, certain elements "free" added to the product offering.
Lets just say one free of the most powerful words in marketing. A product that comes with free items is almost irresistible scientific research shows to see.
Think of a telecom product with free international calls, an insurance policy with free dental visit or a car with free navigation. A simple product with free features, that is what the customer wants.
Rudolf van der Berg Management Consultant for Business Logic Consulting. His work lies at the interface between government, telecom, energy and strategy.Rudolf.van.der.berg @ LinkedIn / Rudolf vander Berg

Saturday, 7 August 2010

KPN using CDMA450 for M2M communications

I knew this for a while already. Now it is on the wweb. KPN has moved to CDMA450 for M2M applications. CDMA450 offers DSL like speeds with very good propagation qualities.  Bonus is that KPN only needs 50 sites to cover the country. As it is the only one who has this spectrum in The Netherlands, it might be an extremely valuable proporty to offer customers multi mode coverage. It's late so further speculation will have to wait. (thanks KH for the tip)

I hope to publish much more on M2M in the coming weeks. Mostly on the costs of switching operators and what the effect of some regulatory changes may be. (DUTCH) (ENGLISH, thanks to B)

Thursday, 5 August 2010

I am a bonafide radio pundit now, 5 million heard me.. for 4 seconds

Yesterday I received an e-mail from the NPR radio programme Marketplace Morning Edition if I wanted to do an interview on the future of phone numbers in the light of Vonage and Facebook working together. I had a really nice phone call of about ten minutes with the editor that you hear in the segment, Jill Barsay. We discussed mr. Strowger and his competitors wife and Skype etc. etc. I tried to keep my answers to sound bites... quite hard to do, but fun.. So this afternoon I tune in to the website, find my piece and yes, I've been reduced to a 4 second blurb. :-) That's being a pundit for you. Listen to it, or read the transcript here:



Best thing is there is a memorisation expert in there, who had memorized a phone book. Great... now go and learn all the facebook accounts, URI's, e-mail adresses etc.