In this interview with Stuart Bird, Director, Fixed Broadband and Bundled Products, Telstra, Australia we find out about how Telstra is innovating to attract customers and how it looks to differentiate its products. To hear more from be sure to attend his presentation entitles, “Providing Innovative Broadband Customer Experiences and Connectivity Options for All,” in the afternoon of Day Three of the Broadband World Forum, which is taking place on the 21st – 23rd October 2014 at the RAI Exhibition and Convention Centre, Amsterdam.
To what extent do you think innovation and incentives are necessary to encourage uptake of your services?
Innovation is critical to attracting customers and winning their loyalty. For example, to set our home broadband service apart, we’re creating Australia’s largest Wi-Fi network to get more people and devices connected in more places. The network will be built by us, but brought to life, in part, by our customers.
It will broaden the choice of connection, giving our customers a convenient way to get online using their portable devices when spending time at an expected two million hotspots in Australia.
It all starts with our home broadband customers. They will play a central role in creating the new network. Those who’d like to join our Wi-Fi community just need a new network gateway. It enables them to share a small portion of their bandwidth with other members of the community visiting their neighbourhood over Wi-Fi.
In exchange, our customers will receive access to their home broadband allowance at Telstra Wi-Fi hotspots across the nation.
Another area where we’re innovating is content. In this market we now include in our bundles our own set top box with content plans, and we also re-sell Foxtel services as part of premium entertainment bundles. We are also evolving how we serve this content to large and small screens in and out of the home.
As the market leader we set ourselves apart based on value rather than price. Having said that incentives like a free Wi-Fi modem are great to aid conversion, and ideally those should be tied to the overall innovation proposition.
When customers have a choice of connectivity options and speeds and if so, how will your differentiate these products?
Speed is an interesting consideration. From a customer experience perspective, the performance of a home network is almost as important as the line speed of a fixed connection.
So for us it starts at the tablet or smart phone, how they work together in the home and on the gateway, then speed of the copper or fibre connection and underlying network performance is of course equally important. To improve speed experience we’re introducing leading Wi-Fi technology into our router range. We’re also introducing software customers can download that detects, diagnoses and proactively lets them know when they are having a problem with their home network.
How significant have the pricing and products offered by other countries influenced your strategy?
The broadband market is evolving in many exciting ways, in technologies, products, and solutions like connected home and integrated fixed-mobile devices.
This forum is a great chance to look at these innovations, and equally important, to see how they have been delivered to market in different countries. It is also good to look at different competitive environments and strategies deployed by all players.
What are the key ways you are looking to innovate over the next two to three years?
We see great opportunities to innovate with in-home/out-of-home Wi-Fi, linking fixed and mobile propositions more closely and compelling entertainment led propositions. More internal innovation will focus on enhancing customer service and of course the underlying product performance. I am looking forward to sharing these innovations in more detail at the forum.
What are you hoping to get out of the Broadband World Forum?
We’re heading to the Forum to understand the state of the art, to look at best practice and listen to ideas from our peers around the world, and to assess whether these ideas could be brought to Australia.
At Telstra we’ve created some broadband propositions and innovations that have really resonated with our customers and I’m looking forward to sharing some of these experiences with our peers in my presentation and through the sessions.
I’m also looking forward to forging relationships with delegates, to explore opportunities to share and co-develop solutions.