Local mobile providers bogged in consumer market

Vendors forced overseas to snag corporate clients

Corporate customers are ditching local mobile service providers because of expensive and confusing off-the-shelf contracts.

Corporate sales teams are missing the point by regurgitating contract discounts in line with the SMB market rather than the enterprise.

Gartner analyst Martin Gutberlet said providers are struggling to break out of the consumer market into the enterprise.

"The mere existence of a business sales force does not mean that mobile service providers are approaching an organization's sourcing needs and priorities in the most appropriate way," Gutberlet said.

"Mobile service providers need to find new ways to improve customer loyalty and retention and this must include corporate contracts [but] service providers are not doing enough to retain corporate clients in the long term.

"Service providers need to simplify contracts and pricing structures to offer features such as flat fees, and free voice mail access and notification."

Sales teams created to attract enterprise clients have failed to deliver tailored contracts and are instead selling plans with complex, hidden prices with discounts based on total spending.

Gutberlet said providers can receive long-term sustained profit from the corporate market by offering tailored services.

Enterprise clients are demanding single contracts valid across multiple countries, according to Gutberlet, due to the centralization of procurement. "Service providers can add significant value if they can give multinational companies a single commercial agreement that is valid in many countries."

He said local market saturation is pushing struggling service providers into other countries and increasing foreign competition.

According to Gartner, enterprises need cost and service management, customized mobile data services and centralized contracts.

"Organizations need transparent reporting that allows them to track TCO and monitor individual use of mobile services," Gutberlet said. Enterprise contracts should be based on international travel, high data usage, comprehensive SLAs, and Web-based device management and procurement. "A permanent dedicated team is required to retain valuable corporate market share in the long term," Gutberlet said.

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Darren Pauli

Computerworld

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