Mobility providers beef up device protection options

January 30, 2017
4 min read

When was the last time you were walking around town with a shattered phone screen, wondering when you’d have the time to take it somewhere to get fixed? Do you recall the last time you wished you had someone on hand to help you solve an internet connectivity problem? Wireless carriers have been paying attention to common issues like these and are hoping their customers will turn to them for quick solutions. Many carriers are getting more creative with the tech support and device protection options they offer to customers as they look to increase engagement, add more value to their services and drive higher average revenue per user.

emilypic1During the second half of 2016, Sprint encouraged its existing device insurance enrollees to add additional layers of service to cover a variety of connected devices. According to Mintel ePerformance, since summer 2016, Sprint has been sending an average of 129,000 emails per month to Total Equipment Protection Plus subscribers, encouraging them to add Total Tech Expert to support all of their Wi-Fi connected devices for $12/month (Mintel ePerformance/eDataSource 5/1/16 – 1/20/17 as of 1/20/2017 at 4:30 PM CST).

This strategy is in line with Sprint’s overall goal to sell more insurance to its customers. During the company’s fiscal Q2 2016 Earnings Conference Call in October, CEO Marcelo Claure stated, “We’re putting a lot more attention into selling our customers insurance, selling them more accessories, [and] selling them value-added services.”

AT&T has also expanded its device insurance protection options to cover more devices. Last year, the company began promoting an upgrade to its existing mobile insurance packages called the AT&T Multi-Device Protection Pack. For $29.99/month per account, this package adds a variety of features to standard device insurance, including the ability to extend protection to multiple internet-connected devices under one account (as the name implies), personalized device help from AT&T’s ProTech support staff and 50GB of storage to backup data.

emilypic2In late 2016, AT&T also began offering a new screen repair service in select cities. Available to enrollees of the Multi-Device Protection Pack, this new offering sends an Asurion-certified technician to the customer as soon as the same day to repair the device (an $89 deductible applies). A month before AT&T’s new cracked-screen repair service went live, the carrier notified select customers of the new service, with an email blast of nearly 7 million notifications, according to Mintel ePerformance.

Of course, AT&T is not the first to offer on-the-spot cracked screen repair. Last year, Dish surprised many when it announced the launch of its smartphone repair service. Like AT&T, Dish sends a technician to the location of the customer’s choosing to fix cracked screens or replace batteries of iPhones. By expanding repair services beyond pay-TV and home networking, Dish seemed to suggest that all TVs (including the small screens in our pockets) should be kept in good working order.

A 2015 Motorola study found that 34% of Americans have experience a cracked screen. These new repair services address the common pain point by making it easier for consumers to get screens repaired quickly and conveniently.

We are likely to observe other carriers experiment with new types of device protection and/or tech support because providers are always looking for new ways to stay relevant in the lives of their customers beyond the initial purchase of their device. Without that extended engagement, it can become easier for competitors to lure the customer away with a lower price point. An excellent customer service experience across these additional support touchpoints, including interactions between the customer and the insurance partners, can be a boon to these providers, boosting satisfaction and stickiness.

Emily Groch is Mintel Comperemedia’s Director of Insights, Telecommunications. She provides omni-channel marketing analysis and competitive insights to wireless, TV, internet, over-the-top, and home security service providers across the US and Canada.

Emily Groch
Emily Groch

Emily Groch is Mintel Comperemedia’s Director of Insights, Telecommunications, providing omni-channel marketing analysis and competitive insights to telecom providers.

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