It's amazing what mobile phone carriers are doing nowadays to try to lure customers over from competitors, including slashing their monthly rates by half, bolstering data plans with free data, and offering special discounts and device upgrades.
Meanwhile, no-contract carrier Cricket Wireless is trying something that could be unique—the company is offering a $9.99 Bring Your Own Device Universal SIM Card Activation kit through Amazon.com so that customers can buy it and get helpful free instructions on how to move their existing no-contract mobile phones over to Cricket from competing carriers.
It's certainly never been hard to swap SIM cards and switch to another provider, at least in theory, but I think it's pretty smart that Cricket recently thought to package such a service into an easy-to-buy format and market it with the king of online retail. Often consumers haven't had the technical knowledge about how to make such a switch on their own. This makes it easy.
Cricket has actually offered such kits through its own Website since May of 2014 when the company was relaunched after being acquired by AT&T, Jake Mullins, the head of channel operations for Cricket, told eWEEK. The new distribution deal with Amazon is meant to promote the idea to an even wider audience, he said.
The idea for the kits came to Mullins early last year when the company was analyzing sales results, he said.
"When you look at a customer who has a phone and they are looking for choice, you need to figure what they are looking for," said Mullins. By putting the needed parts and instructions into a kit, you make it easier for customers to make the switch.
Once a customer buys the kit, they have to run several other steps to get their phone onto Cricket's network, including online or call-in activation, porting their old number to their new service, and installing and configuring the new SIM card. Cricket Wireless has a phone tool on its site that can help customers find out if their old phone will work with Cricket's systems. Most Android, Windows and iOS phones will work, as well as some BlackBerry devices.
In addition to the activation instructions, the kits come with a Nano SIM card and two tray adapters for Micro and Mini SIM cards so the cards will fit any device.
In the future, Cricket hopes to see its SIM card kits sold in other online and brick and mortar stores, said Mullins.
What caught my attention about this announcement is its sheer simplicity. It didn't require any huge corporate strategy, network improvements or a costly discount campaign. All it took was some thinking about how Cricket could make things a bit easier for unhappy customers of their competitors.
Offer a cheap and useful alternative and some simple-to-follow instructions, and then see how customers react.
Wow, what a concept. I would bet that other carriers are looking at this simple idea and wondering why they didn't think of it first.