Archive for the ‘prepaid’ Category

Your Connections. Our Commitment.

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

Every day is a wonderful day when working at NetworkIP!

OK, so maybe I’m exaggerating a bit; some days aren’t so wonderful and some are even down right tough, but that is true of every job (even Santa’s). However, the holidays truly are a wonderful time of year to work at NetworkIP. No, I’m not just saying that because it’s the time of year when we have our annual rockin’ company party.

It has everything to do with knowing that our relatively small company makes a significant impact in so many lives around the world. As we watch our call counts reach peak volumes during this holiday season, we know that families and friends across the globe are being connected. All of our employees are hard at work every day to ensure that each valued call is connected with quality and clarity.

Knowing that we are trusted to provide these connections makes being part of NetworkIP and coming to work each day so special for me. “Your Connections. Our Commitment.”, is much more than just a tag line for all of us.

So pick up the phone and stay connected to your family and friends during this special time of the year.

Brian Kirk
VP Business Development
NetworkIP and Jaduka

Secrets of Success for Service Providers

Monday, December 7th, 2009

It’s hard to believe that another year is about to pass. Of all our years in business, 2009 has certainly been the most challenging for our industry. In 2010, we expect to see additional market consolidation and even more focus on quality and price. As a result, we felt the need to share our “Secrets of Success” with the industry and for companies looking for or considering becoming a Service Provider.

It’s with great pleasure that I’m able to introduce you to Pete Pattullo, our CEO. Pete has taken the time to put together an online video that covers the areas that we feel are the “Secrets of Success” for a Service Provider. Those nine areas are:

-    Reliability
-    Quality Connections
-    Cost Competitive
-    Power of Information
-    Evolution
-    Innovation
-    Point of Sale
-    Integrated Customer Service
-    The Right People and Skills

Pete dispels the myth that providing an Enterprise-Ready solution is as easy as plugging in a toaster. To succeed, Pete outlines, in detail, the key elements that form the foundation of NetworkIP’s business and how we continually succeed regardless of external market conditions.

We hope you learn from our successes and we wish you all the best in 2010!

Brian Kirk
VP Business Development
NetworkIP

Keeping Your Eyes and Ears Open

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

Given the speed of technology advancements it is imperative that we all keep our eyes and ears open to new opportunities. In my opinion, there has not been anything as exciting as what we have seen take place in the mobile industry in the last 5 years - both here in the U.S. and abroad.

From a prepaid perspective, 2009 has to be the most impressive year yet. It was in early January that Boost Mobile introduced their $50 unlimited plan and from that point forward the “Prepaid Mobile Price Wars” began. Maisie Ramsay just recently wrote a great article titled “Duking It Out In Prepaid” in Wireless Week on this subject. Beyond the price wars, the introduction of smart phones and the demand for mobile applications have really changed the face of prepaid mobile.

Also in 2009 we have seen an explosion in the number of mobile applications developed, and more importantly paid for and downloaded. While Apple’s iTunes store model has been by far the most successful (2 billion applications downloaded to date), Nokia, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Windows have all introduced their application store models in an attempt to gain market share in this space. I foresee the day when having a mobile application for your company is just as important as having a website.

As I leave my hotel room this morning and make the short walk to the San Diego Convention Center to attend CTIA Wireless I.T. and Entertainment my eyes and ears will be open to the many new mobile opportunities that lie ahead for NetworkIP and our customers.

Brian Kirk
VP Business Development
NetworkIP and Jaduka

Will MetroPCS and Leap Wireless Merge?

Sunday, September 13th, 2009

Gary Kim, editor in chief of IP Business Magazine, shares his thoughts on “the on-again, off-again potential merger between MetroPCS Communications and Leap (Cricket) Wireless” that might be on again.

With Sprint Nextel’s recent buyout of Virgin Mobile and just this past week watching the merger in the UK between Orange and T-Mobile take place, it is no wonder that analysts are talking about MetroPCS and Cricket. Kim makes a great point in his post by suggesting that this price-war between the two carriers can’t be good for either company for an extended period of time. It only makes reasonable business sense that the two carriers will have to make some move in the near future to avoid the “race to zero.”

I for one would applaud a merger between the two companies. Better yet, I’d like to see some smaller regional wireless providers like Pocket Communications and US Cellular included in that merger - that would give the larger carriers a reason to step up their efforts and provide more competitive products in the market.

Brian Kirk
VP Business Development
NetworkIP

Prepaid Wireless Providers in Q2 2009

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

It won’t be long before the prepaid wireless providers are reporting their Q3 2009 numbers. Before that happens, I better get these Q2 2009 numbers posted. A BIG thanks to Stacey Higginbotham over at GigaOm for doing the grunt work and compiling this data and making it available for all of us to consume.

From these numbers it is evident that Verizon remains on-top (both postpaid and prepaid) in total number of subscribers and it shouldn’t be a shock to anyone after looking at these statistics on why Sprint bought up Virgin Mobile when they did.

What does surprise me is that MetroPCS, even after adding 206,000 new subscribers last quarter and taking some big strides to promote their services & roll out a number of new products and marketing campaigns, has seen their stock prices continue to drop this quarter. Since the beginning of Q3, we have watched their stock price decrease from $12.63 (Jul. 1st) to $8.25 (Sep. 8th).

It’ll be interesting to see how the rest of Q3 2009 plays out for MetroPCS and the other prepaid mobile providers. I have a strong suspicion that we will see these providers focus on data and become much more aggressive with their international calling plans.

Brian Kirk
VP Business Development
NetworkIP

Leap Wireless (Cricket), reported Aug. 6
Wireless Service Revenue: $541.6 million
Wireless Operating Income: n/a
Wireless Data Revenue: n/a
Net Prepaid Subscriber Additions: 203,000
Total Subscribers: 4.5 million
Prepaid Churn: 4.4%
Prepaid ARPU: $41.91

MetroPCS, reported Aug. 6
Wireless Service Revenue: $859.6 million
Wireless Operating Income: $111 million
Wireless Data Revenue: n/a
Net Prepaid Subscriber Additions: 206,000
Total Subscribers: 6.3 million
Prepaid Churn: 5.8%
Prepaid ARPU: $40.52

T-Mobile, reported Aug. 6
Wireless Service Revenue: $5.34 billion
Wireless Operating Income: $425 million
Wireless Data Revenue: n/a
Net Prepaid Subscriber Additions: 268,000
Total Subscribers: 33.5 million
Blended Churn: 3.1%
Postpaid ARPU: $48

Sprint, reported Jul. 29
Wireless Revenue: $7 billion
Wireless Operating Loss: $314 million
Wireless Data Revenue: n/a
Net Prepaid Subscriber Additions: 777,000
Net Postpaid Subscriber Additions: 991,000
Total Subscribers: 48.8 million
Postpaid Churn: 2.05%
Prepaid Churn: 6.38%
Postpaid ARPU: $56
Prepaid ARPU: $34

Verizon, reported Jul. 27
Wireless Revenue: $15.5 billion
Wireless Operating Income: $4.46 billion
Wireless Data Revenue: $3.9 billion
Net Prepaid & Postpaid Subscriber Additions: 1.1 million
Total Subscribers: 87.7 million
Postpaid Churn: 1.01%
Postpaid ARPU: $51.10

AT&T, reported Jul. 23
Wireless Revenue: $13.25 billion
Wireless Operating Income: $3.2 billion
Wireless Data Revenue: $3.4 billion
Net Postpaid Subscriber Additions: 1.2 million
Net Prepaid Subscriber Additions: 200,000
Blended Churn: 1.49%

Prepaid Press Expo 2009 Observations

Friday, September 4th, 2009

As part of my post conference ritual I take a long run the morning of my return home and I use my time on the trail to sort out what I saw, the conversations I had, and the presentations I sat through.

Following this year’s Prepaid Press Expo I have come to three simple conclusions:

1.    The prepaid calling card industry is consolidating and brands are more important than ever.
2.    The mobile industry, specifically prepaid mobile, is growing and evolving as a product.
3.    The prepaid calling card industry must leverage the mobile industry to succeed in the future.

The prepaid mobile industry has gone through some significant and positive changes in 2009. Let me set the stage for a moment about the prepaid mobile space before I go any further.

The commonly found post-paid billing model that we embrace in the U.S. is by no means the norm when we look at the rest of the world. In the U.S., prepaid mobile subscriptions account for less than 20% of all mobile subscriptions. Conversely, prepaid represents more than 80% of all mobile subscriptions worldwide.

There is a shift occurring in the U.S. from the traditional post-paid billing model to prepaid. In Q1 of 2009, for the first time ever, the number of new prepaid mobile subscriptions exceeded the number of new post-paid mobile subscriptions. Why is causing this shift to occur in the U.S.?

1.    It is evident that the economic crisis has enticed many people, especially those who were recently laid off from work, to make the move to prepaid mobile versus signing a 2-year long post-paid contract with a carrier.
2.    Earlier this year, mobile carriers such as Boost kicked off an unlimited nationwide calling plan for as low as $50.00 a month. Prepaid carriers such as Cricket, MetroPCS, T-Mobile, etc. quickly followed and now you can find a very nice unlimited nationwide calling plan (which also includes texting and data) for as low as $40.00 a month.
3.    The quality of mobile phones has improved significantly. In the past, prepaid mobile providers offered low-end, even refurbished phones that had very little appeal and very few features. Now, you can find very feature rich smart phones with high-end features such as e-mail, picture phones, data plans, blue-tooth, Wi-Fi, etc.

The demographics of the prepaid mobile market are rapidly changing in the U.S. From the beginning, prepaid mobile plans held a negative connotation – ie: they appealed to the “lower class”. This same undertone is not found in the international market. As a result of the slower economic times, we are seeing this negative implication being detached in the U.S. & rather than consumers viewing prepaid mobile as the lower class solution, prepaid has become the smart choice for the value conscious mobile consumer.

With 90% of today’s U.S. population having mobile subscriptions and by 2014 it’s projected that over 100% of the U.S. population will have mobile subscriptions, we must give this industry more attention than ever before. To highlight this point even further, in an Economist article titled “Cutting the cord” it was noted that one in every four households in the U.S. is already a cell phone only (CPO) household. The article goes on to suggest that if the current trend to adopt mobile services continues, that by 2025, landlines at home will no longer exist.

Realizing that mobile services are now ubiquitous to everyone, how do those in the prepaid calling card space leverage the growth in mobile?

1.    Market your products as extensions to mobile – Highlight how easy your product is to use via mobile phones.
2.    Incorporate features such as PIN-less Dialing, Auto Recharge, and Speed Dial. Remind yourselves that the mobile subscriber wants advanced and efficient solutions.
3.    Take advantage of direct marketing to the consumer by sending text messages to their phone announcing new features, new rates, and other special offerings on their prepaid long distance product.
4.    Deliver “clean”/reputable prepaid calling card products. The mobile subscriber expects to receive what is printed on the package.

Given our current environment, it is paramount that we focus our energies where the mobile industry is shifting. The prepaid calling card industry is consolidating and brands are more important than ever. The mobile industry, specifically prepaid mobile, is growing and evolving as a product. And most importantly, the prepaid calling card industry must leverage the mobile industry to succeed in the future.

Brian Kirk
VP Business Development
NetworkIP & Jaduka

How to Find Us at the Prepaid Press Expo

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

We wouldn’t be the Gladiators of Prepaid if we just sat back and kept quiet. If you are coming to the Prepaid Press Expo this year you’ll have a number of opportunities to meet NetworkIP.

You’ll always be able to find one of us at booth 323 from sunrise to sunset this Tuesday – Thursday. We also have a number of speaking engagements planned throughout the duration of this year’s event.

Our CEO, Pete Pattullo will appear twice on Tuesday. First at 10:00 AM, Pete will talk about “Prepaid Virtual Operators – Turnkey Hosted Solutions for Card Providers.” Then later in the afternoon at 1:30 PM Pete will talk about “New Developments in Prepaid Technology – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.”

On Wednesday and Thursday morning, Nichole Janner, our VP of Prepaid Services & I (Brian Kirk), VP of Business Development will have show floor presentations. Nichole is keeping her presentation under wraps for now. I’ll be talking about the Prepaid Mobile Space and providing insight on what has occurred in just the past 6-months and how the prepaid calling card industry can best leverage the prepaid mobile space.

If your tied up during the day, then you still have a chance to catch up with one of us from 3:00 – 5:00 PM on Wednesday during the Gladiators of Prepaid Happy Hour Lounge at booth 512 – 514 which we are sponsoring.

We look forward to meeting you at the show.

Brian Kirk
VP Business Development
NetworkIP

It’s About the Journey, Not the Destination

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

It’s been another interesting year since we all met at the last Prepaid Press Expo. I know we have all endured some bumpy and windy roads along the way. Hopefully the lessons learned have given us the tools to navigate the path ahead.

Our organizations have been challenged in a variety of ways, and we have conquered many hurdles. We have learned new ways to do business, strengthened our existing relationships, and established new lasting ones.

Today we begin another new day, this time we’ll be in Las Vegas at the Prepaid Press Expo. The Prepaid Press Expo is a great opportunity for all of us to come together and share our stories of the journeys we’ve traveled and our plans for the future.

We offer sincere gratitude to our customers who have walked along side us over the past year; you are and will remain critical to our success.

Brian Kirk
VP Business Development
NetworkIP

Success at the Prepaid Press Expo

Monday, August 25th, 2008

Last week’s Prepaid Press Expo in Las Vegas was a huge success for NetworkIP, our customers, & the prepaid card industry as a whole. The Expo brought seasoned veterans along with a good number of new companies entering the prepaid market.

In an effort to design the best conference possible The Prepaid Press partnered with the Pelorus Group & as a result the show offered a great array of conference tracks to include a look at the Prepaid Long Distance market as a whole (day 1), Prepaid Wireless (day 2), & Prepaid Alternative Payments (day 3).

On day 1 our very own CEO, Pete Pattullo, presented on the topic of “Building a Better Mousetrap” which focused on the technology of prepaid. Pete’s presentation discussed how we at NetworkIP have approached building a solution to stand the test of time received outstanding feedback from the audience. As Pete suggested, it takes a lot more than a VoIP box to develop a truly remarkable platform. It requires a combination of passion to build reliability, requires managing quality connections (our own iQT solution), ensuring competitive pricing, having the right information to make decisions, the evolution of the platform (we’ve been at it for 10 years & recently released our 8th major software revision – ICS8), innovation & the never-ending pursuit of excellence, & having talented experienced people with the right skills. These are the components that have made our solution the best in class!

Following our very own Leadership Summit Wednesday morning I caught a number of good conference sessions on Prepaid Wireless later in the day. Randall Walrond, VP of Product Management at IVR Technologies, discussed how the prepaid market can leverage the new technology of today’s mobile smart phones. He & I agree on a number of points on what these new devices & faster networks open up to the industry.

I also heard a number of compelling arguments suggesting that the average prepaid consumer isn’t ready for the new smart phones, the applications that run on these smart phones, & new technologies such as Near Field Communication (NFC). Oscar Munoz, President of Uni-Mas Corporation, provided compelling arguments that the average prepaid consumer can’t afford today’s smart phones & that technologies such as NFC are just to far out to invest in for today’s market. Munuz of course didn’t argue that smart phones & new technologies such as NFC would eventually reach the prepaid consumer. He simply suggested that it’s still a few years down the road & that we need to focus on the reality of today.

On day 3, Joel Stanton of Lightspeed Research presented on the value that exists in today’s alternative prepaid market. He discussed the pros & cons with of both the closed-loop & opened-loop gift card industry. Stanton’s presentation was then followed by a discussion on how to best distribute prepaid card solutions. Thomas Honey of Better ATM Services discussed the numerous problems with the distribution of gift cards & cited specific examples such as banks offering VISA & MasterCard gift cards.

Looking back on this year’s show & the topics that were discussed we noticed a significant shift in attention towards the mobile market. We too believe that the mobile market offers huge potential for prepaid. As network speeds increase & mobile phone operating systems, mobile devices, & the mobile networks continue to open up there is an abundance of opportunity for companies to leverage the services & applications that can be developed for this market.

Our hats off to the folks at the Prepaid Press who were able to put together such an exciting & informative event. It was definitely worth us attending, it was great for our customers, & we look forward to maturing the many new relationships that were made at this year’s event.

NetworkIP Team in Vegas

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

The NetworkIP team has packed their bags & by now most of the team has already arrived here in sunny Las Vegas! We are attending this year’s Prepaid Press Expo which is being held at Caesars Palace this Tuesday, August 19th through Thursday, August 21st.

 

Tomorrow morning we are holding our annual Prepaid Leadership Summit & later that night we will attend this year’s Expo (Toga) party which we happen to be sponsoring. Given this year’s theme, our CEO, Pete Pattullo, has volunteered his team (me included) to dress the part. The men of NetworkIP will dress as Gladiators & the women of NetworkIP will dress as Royal Goddesses. If you have yet to sign up for this year’s Prepaid Press Expo & party I recommend you do so now. It’s sure to be a show & party that you won’t want to miss. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!