How mobile operators are successfully “entering” the app economy (Reader Forum)


The importance and dominance of mobile devices in the world needs no introduction. But what about the actions taken on these devices once purchased? Americans check their phones about 96 times a day, which equates to 4.8 hours a day, 88% of which is spent on apps as opposed to the mobile web. They can order food, do their finances, browse social media, play games, book flights and more, all in the four million apps found in app stores.

The vast world surrounding apps on phones, aka the app economy, is made up of two parts: those who make and connect mobile phones (telcos and OEMs) and those who create the apps themselves (developers of applications). For telecom operators and OEMs to be able to engage their users and differentiate their offering, it is essential that they are able to take advantage of content delivered to their devices and enabled by their networks. This will help them deliver more than just a connected device, but the kind of ongoing, relevant value to their users that creates brand loyalty. The key to doing this is understanding how to best connect with mobile content creators, i.e. app developers.

Introducing app developers

For the one million app developers on the Google Play Store and the 700,000 on the App Store, the question isn’t how to build an app (although of course that has its own challenges), it’s rather a question of visibility and discoverability – how do they get more people to download their app, and who will be the long-term, high-value users? In a highly competitive app store environment, turning an app into a successful and sustainable business is a core mission for app developers. Therefore, finding ways to extend the reach of their application, as well as ways to better monetize it, becomes a top priority.

At the same time, telecom operators and OEMs are looking for more reliable ways to improve their user experience at scale and build long-term relationships with their users. Working with app developers to help them promote their app, while giving telecom users a more engaging on-device experience and telecom operators a way to profit from the interaction, is a key way to achieve it. Bottom line: It’s a win-win for everyone.

Connect to the app economy

Telcos can choose to connect with app developers and their apps either directly or through a third party. Either way, getting apps to their users at the “right” time can deliver tremendous value, both in terms of incremental revenue per device, but more importantly in terms of increasing stickiness and reduction in user churn.

Apps can be offered during the unboxing process, for example, when a new phone owner is excited about their new purchase and looking for ways to customize their phone to their preferences. Unlike static preloads, by creating a relevant and dynamic app promotion experience in device configuration, telcos can provide users with a seamless path (and full control) to configure their new phone with everything they want and need, creating a more positive device experience that they then associate with their carrier or OEM. For app developers, appearing as a recommended app during device setup provides unique and essential visibility for their offering at an incredibly high touchpoint, when users are fully focused on downloading apps.

Another alternative is to offer apps at relevant touchpoints along the device journey. For example, offering a battery saving app when the battery is clearly low, offering a local restaurant suggestion app when someone lands in another country, and offering shopping apps during the parties are just a few ideas. Being present and offering content at times when it is relevant, welcome and natural is a unique way to deliver more user value and help increase user satisfaction.

To take ownership of the app experience more thoroughly, telcos could also create their own apps or app hubs. Being the content owner of a regular news, weather, games (or other) app creates space for daily engagement and value creation, helping to create additional opportunities to deliver value through the ‘device. Application hubs can also be created and managed by the telecom operator to facilitate the application discovery process, especially in application categories such as games, where new applications are constantly released.

For telcos, stepping into the app economy by interacting with users through apps – where they spend so much of their time – is the ideal step towards creating a richer device experience. . An important question for telecommunications operators, who, due to their complex structure and high regulatory standards, often move relatively slowly compared to the rapidly changing world of applications, is how to find the right technology partner, with the expertise and flexibility to adapt to the dynamic application. the economy and help them move up the ladder in carrier-led engagement.


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