Mobile telecommunication has given us an unprecedented amount of freedom by literally untethering us from the limitations of physically connected landlines. Telecom is now offering consumers greater freedom in other ways as well.
- Airtel is giving postpaid customers the freedom to create their own billing plan according to their needs and preferences. The company’s “myPlan” offers customers the ability to choose their own rental plan, “myPacks” with talk time and data options, and “myBoosters” that include text messages and other features.
- T-Mobile is giving mobile phone users who are subscribed to other carriers the freedom to leave their existing contracts and to switch over to T-Mobile. How so? T-Mobile is offering to reimburse any early termination fees that customers incur in switching phone carriers.
- AT&T’s new “Sponsored Data” program offers companies the option to pay for data used by specific apps so that the bytes sent and received won’t count against subscribers’ monthly data limits. For example, developers might offer to pay for the data used by its app in a month-long effort to promote it, or Netflix could offer customers the option to stream an episode of House of Cards while the company covers the data costs.
Telecom faces challenges that no company within the industry is immune from, such as a saturated market that has created an intense level of competition and a continual race to disrupt and innovate. It is noteworthy then that T-Mobile, Airtel, and AT&T are trying to outdo competitors by offering greater flexibility and customizability to customers. It’s an indication that these companies are now seeking to outcompete one another in a key area: the freedom they offer.
The Freedom Report shows that companies that promote not only “freedom from” unnecessarily restrictive policies and predominately penalty-focused strategies, but the “freedom to” pursue options that align with our personal needs and values have a distinct advantage over those that do not. In fact, one of the freedom measures that companies were evaluated on was whether they offered “consumers significantly greater freedom in choosing how to best fulfill their needs.”
The report reveals that companies who maximize freedom in all their relationships – including with customers – are more likely to have high levels of financial performance, innovation and likelihood of long-term success. India-based Airtel is flourishing as the world’s second largest provider of mobile telecommunications, and the largest cell service provider in India. AT&T, Verizon and Sprint have started imitating T-Mobile’s “Uncarrier” initiative. At a time when the telecom industry is proving fiercely competitive, these companies understand that offering greater flexibility and latitude could help them gain the upper hand. For more on the “return on freedom,” see these articles.