Over two and a half years after my initial interview with Fred Haumesser, Co-Founder and Executive Vice President of Ready Mobile PCS, he was kind enough to share his time in this second installment to comment on where his company is currently at in the prepaid wireless market.
Interview Date: April 24, 2012
| It’s been
over two years since the last interview; what is the most
notable change you’ve seen in your business over that time?
[Haumesser] Data! The growth in data enabled devices and the tremendous creativity in product and service offerings now available from your phone and other devices has been incredible. Consumers across all age groups and incomes have joined the wireless broadband revolution. It has also positively impacted the flexibility and costs for our small business and home office consumers.
| Ready Mobile offers a
variety of plan types; can you share anything
regarding the distribution of your customers between the Anytime plan,
Monthly plan, and Unlimited plan? Do you see this
changing over the next few years?
[Haumesser] The macro-market trend of getting more for less is certainly being played out in our consumer base. Ready Mobile PCS brand targets budget conscious individuals and households, a growing economic segment. We have done well with the Get Ready bundle plans because the consumer can get a robust mix of voice and text and reduce their overall monthly spend.
prepaid wireless market has been rapidly launching smartphones with
tremendous customer adoption rates; is Ready Mobile planning on adding
smartphones to your product lineup?
[Haumesser] Yes, these handsets are making their way into our line up. We know we need to hit a $100 price point to make this work for our target consumers' budget. We also know that this may be the only readily available Internet access our consumer may have, which is really important these days.
| Ready Broadband was one
of the first prepaid broadband products in the
U.S.; is broadband a large part of your business compared to the voice
business? i.e. Can customers expect the same level of
commitment and support compared to the voice business? Other
have been lacking on this front, so customers have been looking for
[Haumesser] In the U.S. there is an unfortunate technology gap. Ready Mobile plays an important role in making critical telecommunications, including broadband Internet access, affordable and accessible for everyone. So, yes, we are dedicated to that vision.
We are also excited about helping wholesale partners build data products to meet their unique constituency’s needs. Our platform provides a fast-to-market solution that is seamless and scalable.
| The past year has seen
a dramatic shift away from unlimited broadband
plans to capped or severely throttled data plans, including a material
increase in data pricing; how do you think this will impact the growth
opportunity for prepaid carriers seeking to compete in the mobile
[Haumesser] “Unlimited” has a new meaning today. Rich media applications are everywhere. And people really don’t understand, or really care, how much bandwidth that You Tube video or music downloads required. In terms of network usage though, it is a real cost. So the entire industry has to be realistic and build plans that meet consumer demand AND are economically feasible.
a market that’s increasingly becoming commoditized, how does
Mobile position your brand? This will be helpful for
customers interested in Ready Mobile’s offerings.
[Haumesser] My partner Dennis has a great analogy for this. Why do people buy RC Cola vs. Coke? There is a consumer who wants the key features, a good product, and a lower price point. That is who we attract. Friendly and frugal is our motto.
| Can you describe the
Get Ready brand and how it fits into your portfolio?
[Haumesser] To my point above, Get Ready provides a feature bundle that fits lots of consumers needs and is really cost effective for them. They are managing to a budget and get a lot packed into a low price.
| Is there anything you
can share regarding upcoming products and services that customers can
look forward to?
[Haumesser] We are very excited about the Ready Wifi Hotspot product. It will be available online and in stores by the end of May. Our engineers, systems and product teams have done a great job of making easy to set up, use and top up. It is outstanding.
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