Creating convergent service bundles for SMEs

Reference: Analysis, 2023

Operators often face uncertainty when addressing small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs). Should they treat SMEs like consumers or corporate customers? SMEs, being akin to a close-knit family, is a mass market but could sometimes require a personalised approach. Should operators assign dedicated sales representatives to cater to their specific needs and assemble tailored solutions?

While many operators equate convergence with fixed-mobile services, its scope extends far beyond that. Convergent SME bundles should not be limited to combining fixed and mobile services alone. SMEs have diverse requirements that operators can effectively address, such as switchboard functionality, contact center tools, office software, domain and hosting, cloud storage, cyber security, insurance, and more.

Example from Free (France)

To gain comprehensive insights into convergent service offerings, Tefficient conducted research encompassing 42 operators across 17 developed markets globally. Our findings revealed over a hundred convergent service bundles, each comprising at least two services, with some bundles offering many more services than that. These services were sometimes a mandatory component in a bundle, sometimes optional.

The research entailed compiling and analysing a wealth of valuable statistics to provide a comprehensive overview of these offerings.

Given that convergent service bundles represent a significant business opportunity for telecom operators, our analysis also investigated the sales strategies employed by operators. Do they sell bundles as complete packages, add-ons to existing mobile or fixed subscriptions, or even as stand-alone options without any connectivity requirements?

Furthermore, we explored the presence of benefit programs. Can customers for instance avail a convergent bundle as a benefit by adding mobile to fixed subscriptions or vice versa?

Our analysis delved into the incentives used by operators to motivate SMEs to purchase a convergent service bundle instead of acquiring individual services. Are there discounts, inclusive technical support, free content, or advanced features to motivate SMEs to buy? We also examined the design of different tiers within the bundles.

In addition to describing all the identified convergent service bundles, our analysis identified noteworthy best practices among them. We also provided recommendations on what operators should and should not do when creating these bundles.

Lastly, our analysis pinpointed gaps in the current offering when compared to local competitors.

This in-depth analysis was commissioned by an operator group, aiming to enhance their understanding of convergent service bundles and capitalise on the business potential they present.