MetroPCS deploys subscriber web portal

Jessica Scarpati
03 Mar 2011

The ability to ensure flawless call quality, spotless network coverage and fast data speeds only scrapes the surface of what wireless carriers must deliver today. Competing in today's wireless market requires carriers to enrich the mobile customer experience with next-generation services, applications and platforms.

As MetroPCS launched its Long-Term Evolution (LTE) network last year, the prepaid carrier revamped its legacy mobile Web portal with artificial intelligence to improve subscriber loyalty and boost mobile ARPU.

"Our legacy Web portal was what we'd [call] sufficient in the experience it provided the customer … and it was appropriate for a legacy 2G network," said Gavin Throckmorton, director of digital media and MobileWEB at MetroPCS.

"But we knew with the throughput and capacity of a 4G network and the type of handsets that would be on that network -- smartphones with advanced operating systems, faster processors, bigger screens -- we want to provide a more [modern] look and feel."

MetroPCS filters its subscribers who are accessing the Internet from their feature phones or smartphones through a mobile Web portal, MetroWEB. The legacy portal presented every subscriber a cookie-cutter homepage featuring links to partner websites and retailers selling virtual goods, such as ringtones. MetroPCS shares revenue with these partners, based on clicks or purchases that come from its portal, Throckmorton said.

Many subscribers bypassed the partner links in the portal and opted to go straight to the Internet browser for their preferred websites, costing MetroPCS mobile ARPU opportunities, he said. MetroWEB had become an obstacle for subscribers, rather than a useful gateway to the Internet.

"If somebody [was] a Yahoo News user, it may typically take three or four clicks for them to get to Yahoo News," Throckmorton said. "We wanted to build more efficiency into our mobile Web experience."

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