The US is one of the most mature fixed-broadband markets in the world, but is becoming a victim of its own success. Communication Service Providers (CSPs - both telecom and cable MSOs) enjoyed a long run of double-digit growth in building the networks and services that power triple-and-quad play packages, but that growth has stalled out with broadband penetration rates approaching 70%. In response, CSPs have logically expanded their media content offerings and begun experimenting with new connected home and enterprise machine-to-machine.
solutions. But we believe there is still headroom for basic access growth both in the US market and beyond.
The broadband challenge: Historically, CSPs have had difficulty tapping into underserved, less internet-savvy, and often unbanked or under-banked market segments in a profitable manner. Given issues of churn, service coverage, bad-debt and high support costs of the remaining 30% of the market, CSPs have until recently focused elsewhere to drive growth. But the tides are shifting. First, the main US Federal communications regulatory authority, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has clearly shifted its focus of the Universal Service Obligation from support of telephony and simple extension of broadband service into rural areas, to a primary emphasis on the provisioning of affordable broadband services in these underserved communities. And second, with growth rates slowing, CSPs are now willing to consider creative market approaches that will allow them to tap into the potential offered by these underserved market segments.
Changing the dynamics of how CSPs look at the market: At Wipro, we believe the key to profitably serving these households is with a pre-paid broadband service offering flexible price points, differing service levels than the premium 'all-you-can-eat' products and capabilities that allow consumers to better manage their spend. Why pre-paid? The simple reason is the same one that has driven mobile carriers globally to take up this business construct in that it eliminates the credit risks associated with a postpaid business model. Additionally, it gives CSPs a way to save the customers today, who are disqualified for non-payment and blacklisted from service - consumers that will never return to the brand. And, until the recent penetration plateau, along with subsequent migration towards cord-cutting smartphone-based consumers, CSPs haven't felt the need to change from the postpaid model for growth. It is for these reasons that Wipro has made a major investment in Wipro Accelerate™- a managed service offering which provides end-to-end billing, service management and customer care solution for broadband service providers. Our service includes:
- Business processes: Predefined business processes to improve time to market and operational efficiency - allowing a 90-day deployment of full prepaid, data-metered broadband offers
- A robust IT solution: An end-to-end solution stack that is based upon cloud-hosted, proven, best of breed solutions integrated into a single, comprehensive offer
- Operations support: Variable demand is managed through our flexible resource pool of specialized, on-demand resources that can provide everything from systems operations, integration, specialized product and technical call center support and more
- Go-to-market support: A 'market ready' solution that extends from order capture to provisioning - with support for white label offerings and the creation of 'flanker brands' on a rapid basis to avoid core product cannibalization…. All at a price point per subscriber that is lower than today's billing and care environment and variabilized to minimize CAPEX.
CSPs today often struggle with changes to operations that would enable a cost-effective pre-paid broadband product overnight. Decisions on product packaging, pricing and back-end systems/ call center integration can take time. But, with Wipro Accelerate™ offering a template
for rapid and cost-effective launch, our customers can dramatically streamline the typical product launch cycle with a strong business proposition and operational template.
While we believe there is immediate, pent-up demand for this solution in the North American market today, we are actively promoting it in other geographies as well. By leveraging our depth of expertise from running live carrier operations in India, the world's largest pre-paid communication market, we have business and technical expertise that few providers can match. If you have thoughts on the opportunity and potential for prepaid broadband services in developed markets such as the US, I'd love to hear your feedback in the comments below.