Mobile Users Will Pay to Choose Their Own Number

Evolving Systems has released the results of a survey which it says reveals the potential for European telecoms operators to tap into new revenue streams by delivering number choice and other personalized service offerings to prepaid customers.

The survey, carried out in the spring, polled the views and opinions of 500 prepaid mobile phone users across the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. More than 30 per cent of respondents in each country said they would be prepared to pay a premium for the ability to select their own number, depending on cost. The proportions were highest in France (45 per cent) and Italy (43 per cent).

Of those users who stated they would be prepared to pay a premium, around 25 per cent said that they would pay between €6 and €50 (between £6 and £50 in the case of UK users). France had the most engaged set of respondents in this respect, with 31 per cent fitting into this category.

“These figures will give wireless operators food for thought,” says Evolving Systems’ chief technology officer, Stuart Cochran. “If operators could convert these percentages of their prepaid mobile subscriber base to number personalization, they would gain a significant incremental revenue source. There clearly is a potential market in these key European countries for personalized number selection, and it is equally clear that this market remains largely unexploited so far.”

The survey finds that only a small proportion of prepaid users have ever been offered the opportunity to select their own mobile number. Just 13 per cent of prepaid French users (and only 21 per cent of those in Italy), had been given this option when buying a prepaid SIM card.

When prepaid users are offered number choice, it is typically provided through a retail store. This option was the most popular route in every country surveyed, apart from Germany. Very few subscribers had been offered a choice of numbers via their mobile phone screen. In Italy, just 3 per cent of those prepaid users who had ever been given the chance to select their own mobile number had been offered it in this way.

Yet, when asked how they would like to choose the number, selecting it via the phone’s screen scored well. In the UK, it is clearly preferred to going into a retail store and being helped by a salesperson, and in every other country surveyed, it is at least competitive with that option.

According to Cochran: “This underlines the potential of a different approach to provisioning such as our own Dynamic SIM Allocation  (DSA) solution, that offers personalization such as number choice to customers when they use a mobile device for the first time. Not only is this more convenient for the customer, it also gives them a much wider choice of numbers and the ability to search for vanity numbers that are memorable or have special meaning.”