Posts Tagged ‘prepaid press expo’

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

Summer Conference Schedule

Friday, July 18th, 2008

My summer conference schedule so far includes the Prepaid Press Expo in Las Vegas in August & Mobilize in September in San Francisco.

NetworkIP is a regular at the Prepaid Press Expo. We’ve supported this event for many years now & it’s a great opportunity for us to get out & share with our clients what we are up to, what trends we see occurring in the prepaid industry, & what we plan to do to ensure our clients can take advantage of those new trends.

This will be our first year attending Mobilize, in fact I believe this will be the first year this show is held. We have the highest respects for the folks at GigaOm & believe they have pulled some of the brightest people together for this conference. We’ve been following the mobile space & working more closely with partners in this space this year. This event is sure to shed some light on where things are heading, or at least where we think this space is heading. With more mobile devices becoming open & network speeds increasing this is an exciting space for us to be involved in.

About the Prepaid Press Expo:

The prepaid industry has grown in three distinct branches – calling cards, wireless, and gift cards/alternative payments. These three diverse sectors converge at the retail level, but are still approached as different industries. No trade event today features the convergence…until now!

About Mobilize:

Mobilize is a conference developed by award-winning technology writer Om Malik to inform the entrepreneurial community about the opportunities present in the next phase of the mobile web. Working with Om on the program is GigaOM’s resident technologist Surj Patel.

Industry-leading speakers will share their unique perspectives with Mobilize participants to guide them through the emerging opportunities in the next phase of the mobile web. We will feature the best technologies, the best thought leaders and the most innovative and inspiring startups.