TruConnect Mobile was the first prepaid broadband provider in the U.S. to offer a pay-as-you-go mobile broadband service plan. Visitors to this site have been asking for this type of no contract option for a LONG time, and Kevin Hamilton, President & CEO, was kind enough to take the time to participate in the following interview. Thank you Kevin!
Interview Date: November 17, 2011
|| Can you share some
background regarding the company history,
startup inspiration, and target demographic of TruConnect?
[Hamilton] TruConnect Mobile launched in September 2011 as a new way to think about mobile Internet, with unbundled 3G service for just $4.99 per month plus 3.9 cents per megabyte. Users get a true pay as you go rate. Our target customer is any casual laptop, iPad or Kindle Fire user who occasionally wants wireless access when away from their trusted WiFi networks.lkj
|2.|| It’s obvious
sets TruConnect apart from other prepaid broadband providers is your
monthly access fee plus per megabyte usage pricing model. How
did TruConnect come to determine that this pricing would be the best
[Hamilton] As wireless consumers ourselves, we are all too familiar with the frustrations of data plans that simply do not fit our lifestyles. We wondered about a very simple, honest and super convenient way to stay connected to the Internet and started with a basic question: What if you could purchase mobile broadband connectivity as you used it, rather than by the bucket or bundle? It’s hard for many people to find the right size “bucket” and thus they inevitably pay more than they should.
We really feel that carrier data plans, as they exist today, do not account for the casual data user who maybe uses a few hundred megabytes per month. Our pricing model keeps the user in control, paying for only the data they use, for only as long as they want the service.
|| I get a LOT of inquiries from
prospective prepaid broadband customers looking for a pay-per-use
model, which has not existed until now. How do you plan on
marketing to create awareness of your brand and data offer?
[Hamilton] We have an aggressive public relations and social media campaign in place, which is complemented by our direct to consumer advertising and ecommerce campaign. We are in advanced discussions with several brick and mortar retailers and should see additional distribution in Q1 2012.
|| Does TruConnect plan to
offer other pricing models to capture
a broader demographic, or core customers seeking to migrate to higher
[Hamilton] Not at this time. TruConnect Mobile is really targeted at the casual mobile Internet user.
|| TruConnect is a Sprint
MVNO. MVNOs of all sizes
appear to struggle from a cost model perspective. Can
prospective customers have confidence that TruConnect has the business
model and support system to provide a competitive experience with a
[Hamilton] While it’s true that a previous generation of MVNO’s struggled to find a profitable model, there are successful MVNO’s today that are growing and prospering. The key to a successful MVNO strategy is control of costs, especially marketing spending and device subsidies. TruConnect sells unlocked, no contract devices, which also means no subsidy. This is a benefit to the consumer and helps to sustain the TruConnect business model.
TruConnect is part owned by Telscape Communications, Inc., a 12 year old, well-established CLEC and wireless MVNO which also provides stability and continuity.
|6.|| Your website outlines a
low balance autopay topup program using a credit card. Can
cash-based customers buy topup cards to pay for service?
[Hamilton] Not at this time.
|| If customers are
willing to add more money to their account at one time, is there an
opportunity to lower the monthly access fee or per MB pricing?
[Hamilton] Not at this time.
|| Does TruConnect have
plans to support 4G in the future?
[Hamilton] For sure. We’re waiting for Sprint’s build out to be more comprehensive to give the best service and value to our customers.
|| Are your broadband
devices new or refurbished?
[Hamilton] We sell both new and remanufactured devices. The remanufactured devices carry a one year warranty, all new components, and are re-manufactured to original factory specs.
|| What does
TruConnect see as your long term value proposition? If your
pay-per-use model is successful, larger well-branded carriers or MVNOs
can easily copy or undercut your pricing; do you have a strategy to
differentiate yourself to avoid such a blow?
[Hamilton] We have a roadmap of additional products and services that we will introduce that meet our TruConnect standard of mobile, simple, honest.
|| Where are TruConnect products
distributed? Are they available in airports or travel centers
where pay-per-use pricing would likely be popular?
[Hamilton] We are looking into expanding our distribution and should have some announcements in place soon, but for now distribution is online only.
|| Is there anything else that you
would like prospective TruConnect customers to know about your company
[Hamilton] Prospective customers should know that TruConnect is an exciting new company with a great service that is backed by Telscape, a 12-year-old CLEC based in Los Angeles.
|Read My TruConnect
Visit The TruConnect Mobile Homepage
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