tppEXPO 2016 Conference Overview:
Getting Ready for the Future of Prepaid Wireless and Services
Seeing into the future was the goal of this year’s Prepaid Press Expo. Speakers covered topics that showed where the prepaid wireless industry is today, where it is going in the future, and how companies can be prepared for the future that is coming.
The morning kicked off with a look at what consumers are doing with their mobile devices and how prepaid services make it easy for people of all types to get service. In the next session, a panel discussed how people may use retail gift cards to buy devices and mobile services in the near future, and how providers can get involved. An because prepaid is so important for unbanked and underserved people, we had a panel talk about how these people use wireless services today, and the innovations that are coming tomorrow.
While the future is exciting, there are two topics that the industry needs to keep in mind, even if they aren’t exactly pleasant. The first is regulations and the second is fraud. Speakers covered regulations for both the wireless industry and the prepaid financial services industry, and talked about how the wireless industry may be shaped by both sets of new rules.
When it comes to fraud, as technology advances, so do the schemes of criminals out to steal from both individuals and companies. The fraud session showed how fraud has evolved over time, and how prepaid providers need to be on the lookout for both new and old tricks.
Two other big changes are on the horizon for the prepaid wireless industry, the development of 5G and the growth of the Internet of things. Increased speed from 5G networks will offer new opportunities for delivering services and content that may expand the business models for wireless companies. The Internet of Things, where devices are connected to and interacting with the Internet, may also offer new opportunities, because many of these devices will make use of cellular technology to make these interactions happen.
For those who were excited by the possibilities that the future may offer, a panel of industry veterans discussed how companies can become MVNO’s and get involved in providing service to customers of all kinds. The session gave attendees information for how to consider whether this was a part of the business they wanted to enter and how to do it if they made the decision to jump.
The Expo had an opportunity to make a last minute addition to the program, and so hosted a brief end of the day session about how to maximize profits. While there are plenty of exciting trends that will lead to new frontiers, our last speaker talked about ways you can maximize profits by providing new products and s4rvices for existing customers through developing a sales culture within your organization.
If you attended the conference sessions, your login and password have been sent to you. We invite you to look at the presentations and recaps that we have posted here. While they represent the outlines of the value of the conference, we trust they will provide the spark for good ideas, or help rekindle the fires for those attendees lucky enough to see them in person. Let them also remind you to mark your calendar for August 22-23, 2017, when we will reconvene to see how our industry has grown over the year.
Ben Jackson is Director of the Prepaid Advisory Service, Mercator Advisory Group. Visit Mercator Advisory Group online at www.mercatoradvisorygroup.com.