Bringing Mobile IM to US Cellular
Comverse Mobile IM, with an attractive user experience, client readiness, and a comprehensive roadmap, powers Mobile Instant Messaging for U.S. Cellular.
US Cellular: Earning One of the Industry’s Highest Levels of Customer Satisfaction
Chicago-based U.S. Cellular Corporation (AMEX: USM) is a super-regional wireless company, serving 5.7 million customers in 149 markets in 26 states. U.S. Cellular maintains one of the industry’s highest levels of customer satisfaction by emphasizing customer support, quality network coverage and a comprehensive range of wireless products and services.
Dedication to delivering the highest level of products, services and customer support in the market is why U.S. Cellular, one of the United States’ leading mobile operators, ranks either one or two in nearly every market in which it operates across 25 states nationwide.
The Need: Introducing Mobile Instant Messaging
Instant Messaging (IM) is a mega-success on the Web, with hundreds of millions of avid IM users sending several trillions of IM messages a year.
Perceiving the vast opportunity in offering mobile access to this already-dedicated user base, operators have begun to offer IM on the mobile as Mobile Instant Messaging (MIM).
U.S. Cellular rapidly understood the importance of meeting user preferences and needs by providing this service, and therefore decided to deploy Mobile IM.
Challenge: To Gain Instant Benefits from Instant Messaging
Challenges to the deployment of the new service included creating an appealing user experience with a chat-like interface that could win immediate user acceptance and take-up by replicating the PC experience of popular IM communities.
To launch the new service and promote IM penetration, it was necessary to ensure device capability by creating clients for the handsets currently in use, as well as to endure the rapid creation of clients for new handsets as they are introduced into the network.
A further challenge was to have a robust forward-looking roadmap to be able to meet market changes and maintain momentum in the future as the service matures.
The Solution: Comverse Delivers the GoodsU.S. Cellular deployed Comverse Mobile IM in March 2005.
The fact that other operators had already introduced mobile IM prior to the launch didn’t faze the company; in fact, it provided US Cellular with advantages of perspective.
Instead of scrambling to be first-to-market, “we take a prudent-to-market approach when it comes to new service introduction,” said Len Landi, Director of Business Development and Product Strategy at U.S. Cellular.
“Due to our customer satisfaction commitment, we ensure that every new offering not only is priced appropriately, but also performs extremely well prior to launch. We establish a bond of trust with our subscribers guaranteeing that whatever we offer works. And we won’t jeopardize that relationship for a quick, yet untried introduction of a new data application.”
As a result, U.S. Cellular, together with AOL and Comverse, conducted a number of rigorous testing rounds over the course of several months before deployment – and Comverse delivered the goods. “Comverse successfully developed the IM platform to our satisfaction as well as that of AOL, which maintains stringent user interface specifications,” said Landi.
Why Comverse: Going the Extra MileWhen US Cellular decided to add the mobile AOL® Instant Messenger™ (AIM®) service to its subscriber offering, it turned to Comverse’s Mobile Instant Messaging (IM) platform. Comverse emerged early as a global leader in Mobile IM, with a solid track record and a cutting-edge high-performance product.
It became evident that Comverse MIM was a best fit for the philosophy and approach of US Cellular. Said Landi, “Our company is all about the customer. We always go the extra mile to ensure that each and every product we introduce is ready for prime time and good for our subscribers. So when we decided to bring aboard mobile instant messaging, we chose AOL’s leading service, along with Comverse’s leading platform.
“We found Comverse to be a stable, experienced IM vendor, with the most know-how, resources and hardened product in the market.”
The ResultsU.S. Cellular, together with AOL and Comverse, conducted a number of rigorous testing rounds over the course of several months before the deployment, and all went well — Comverse delivered the goods. Landi recounts, “Comverse successfully developed the IM platform to our satisfaction as well as that of AOL, which maintains stringent user interface specifications.”
The user interface, according to Landi, is one of the main ways that U.S. Cellular attained the outstanding user experience that it sought for its subscribers. “We looked for an IP-based solution that offers a seamless PC-like experience, and delivers the greatest benefits to our customers. Comverse’s platform fits the bill. It enables us to offer a user interface that is an exact mirror image of the desktop interface, as well as instantaneous messaging, receipt of messages in the correct order, and a user-friendly sign-in process.”
And while Comverse Mobile IM helps U.S. Cellular meet its customer needs, the service delivers much more to the operator. “Mobile IM broadens the depth of our service portfolio, which, in turn, drives new data applications and increases revenues.”
Given Mobile IM’s important role for U.S. Cellular, the company made great initial efforts to promote the service to its subscriber base — primarily the youth and business segments. “We gave the service prominent placement in our BREW download shop, and we restructured our website to create awareness among our customers,” Landi says.
With the first few months of service under their belt, U.S. Cellular was extremely satisfied with the service. “All of the customer feedback that we’ve received so far has been positive,” summarized Landi. “The service has met our expectations with no technical problems and no customer complaints.”