The immobile world of mobile network providers

We all look to the nine circles of hell when drawing comparisons with experiences we take a disliking to and, I have to say, I considered that very association after my recent foray into the deeply dark world of mobile phone upgrades.

However, when I thought it through, following my second, 30-minute wait for an O2 advisor to speak to me, via telephone, ‘O2 Live Chat’ and Twitter, it was Dante’s volume Purgatorio that crept into the fore.

Through neither channel were my cries for help answered and I remain hovering in limbo somewhere between mobile phone network and handset choices.

But, upon reflection, don’t we all end up in limbo every time we come to upgrade our mobile phones, due to the fact that mobile phone providers are actually immobile?

During those ever-increasing contractual months, I dream of that divine day when my mobile phone bill will be reduced and that exorbitant new handset cost will disappear. And each year I somehow reach the vanishing point only to find that I am back to where I started all those months ago.

Yes, the handsets get shinier but the offer on the table renders no additional value and the nauseous feeling that comes with inertia sets in.

It’s a paradox: we move forward, yet we stay in the same place. But those phone networks keep getting richer.

So, what is to be done? Well, one might opt for a change in mobile network but the tariffs are so inflexible – immobile if you will. Or take up the gauntlet set down by the customer service agent and hunt out a tariff that the provider will then match.

Where with other industries, the voice of the customer is now what drives business; making the customer do the work is, once again, demonstrable of mobile phone network providers taking and not giving back; living in the past and failing to evolve to meet the customers’ needs, choosing, instead, to serve their own.

Dante wrote in Purgatorio: “This mountain is so formed that it is always wearisome when one begins the ascent, but becomes easier the higher one climbs.”

Maybe it’s time for us to push ourselves to climb and force a different view.

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One Response to The immobile world of mobile network providers

  1. I’m not sure the phone networks are getting all that richer – and therein lies the problem. They are still reeling from the 3G licence auctions (yes, 3G… I know it was a long time ago).

    3G dealt a terrible blow to the revenues and profits of the major networks. Smartphone users are spoilt for choice when it comes to free communications – Skype, Ping/Touch, Twitter, Facebook and many others (not to mention good old fashioned email) mean we can communicate without setting foot on our mobile operator’s network and therefore without them making a penny out of us.

    They are stuck in a world of diminishing returns. And that is why you (and others) come up against these problems.

    There’s no incentive for the operators to invest, because there’s no goldmine of additional revenue for them. Instead they are stuck profiling customers to identify which of us they want to keep and who they can afford to lose, while desperately trying to repackage the same old offers as something new.

    Few of us have any sort of relationship with our network provider. Not in the same way we do with our handset manufacturer, anyway. It’s an industry of incredible technical complexity, that has changed the way people and businesses communicate… and yet the major players all compete on price.

    The whole thing is bonkers.

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