The economy is, overall, just terrible. It’s like watching a horror movie every night on the evening news. But there are some sectors that are still doing well, wireless being one of them. That’s because wireless is no longer just an option but, instead, a necessity. Companies-including wireless cellular operators-should be investing in wireless services during these difficult economic times.
Here’s what I think each industry sector should do-from wireless cellular operators to large enterprises, all the way down to small businesses and individual service professionals. First, let me start with wireless cellular operators.
This is an Open Letter to the CEOs of all wireless cellular operators in the United States, including AT&T Wireless, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, T-Mobile and Metro PCS:
These are difficult economic times. Fortunately, the wireless industry is weathering the storm better than many other industries. I would like to call on the wireless industry to do their fair part to help all those who are in a tough economic bind, either because they lost their job or home (or, horrors, both).
If these people already have a wireless plan, I’d recommend the wireless operator provide free service to such unfortunate people for up to a year, or until such time that they get employed. Put protections in place so that people don’t take advantage of the program. And, if they don’t have a phone, let them get basic cellular service while unemployed that converts to a paid plan when they get a new job.
I hope the CTIA and other trade organizations will support such a program. It’s a good idea because:
1. It’s altruistic. It helps the wireless industry get more subscribers and keep those that have a temporary problem.
2. It would generate lifetime customer loyalty. The individual will likely be very thankful and want to stay with the wireless operator.
3. It could be promoted as a differentiator (if it’s not picked up by every operator).
4. It could generate goodwill for the industry.
That’s the end of my Open Letter to the CEOs of all wireless cellular operators in the United States. Now, let’s address the other parts of the economy, starting with large enterprises.
How Mobile and Wireless Can Benefit All Companies
How mobile and wireless can benefit all companies
If you work in a large enterprise, then you are trying to get more done with less people. The company is in higher competition to get orders from a small pool of business that’s available. By having enterprise IT invest in mobile and wireless technology, they are providing management, marketing, sales and everyone else with the tools to get more business done in less time and less resources than if mobile handhelds and wireless communications were not implemented.
And, large enterprises need to make it easier for their customers to interact with them-whether it’s a request for information or, if in retail, to order a product. Large organizations need to invest in mobile and wireless so potential customers can use either the Internet or mobile phone to place orders. Large enterprises need to provide positive-and convenient-ways for their employees to serve customers and help grow the economy.
Now, let’s talk about small businesses and service professionals. Small businesses have a slightly different issue, as the owner is the one likely making the decision on what to do. This is also true for service professionals such as consultants, realtors, insurance salespeople and other service professionals. The small group can move fast, buy the mobile and wireless solutions they want, and become very responsive.
Likely, most people today already have a notebook computer and cell phone. What’s different in slow economic times is that everyone has to get more aggressive to find business. Small businesses and service professionals have to spend more time hunting down new clients and customers. That may include doing a search while mobile rather than at the desktop. Or it may require you to answer an e-mail in your phone or to get an e-mail device so you can respond as fast as possible to someone who is considering you versus someone else for a new contract. Or it may justify your adding a cellular data card to your notebook so you can communicate when you’re just about anywhere outside-instead of just in the office, the airport or coffee shop.
If I worked in a wireless operator, owned a business, was a service professional or worked in enterprise IT in a major organization, I’d be asking myself, “What can I do to best help deal with these tough economic times?” Certainly, you’d think about all the new ways to generate new customers and revenue. In order for you to accomplish that, you will soon realize that you’ll need to get the technologies in place that will help you succeed in these challenging times. And this results in your investing in mobile and wireless communications. And, if you work for a wireless operator, I’d also think in terms of how to help those who have met with (hopefully temporary) financial difficulty.
I think all of us anticipate that President-elect Barak Obama is going to do things that will help the economy. The mobile and wireless communications industry should be a leader in helping affect improvement and positive change.
For more than 16 years, Dr. Purdy has been consulting, speaking, researching, networking, writing and developing state-of-the-art concepts that challenge people’s mind-sets, and developing new ways of thinking and forecasting in the mobile computing and wireless data arenas. Often quoted, his ideas and opinions are followed closely by thought leaders in the mobile & wireless industry. He has a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Stanford University. He can be reached at [email protected].