Thursday, November 17, 2005

M:Metrics: CIngular MEdia Net Moves Things Forward

Mark Donovan posts a very thorough analysis of Cingular's relaunch of its MEdia Net service at the M:Metrics Blog. After testing the service, Donovan comes away impressed not because it's flashy or innovative, but "as the nation's largest carrier, Cingular has thoughtfully reimagined the mobile browsing experience and is rolling it out in a massive way."

Donovan notes that most mobile browsing experiences are two difficult for the majority of folks. He states Cingular "has addressed some of the key obstacles that keep my family from joining the 20 million US subscribers who browse each month according to M:Metrics data." He finds Cingular has tackled three areas to attempt to "drive increased usage and satisfaction with mobile browsing:"

  1. The deck has been flattened,
  2. The home page has user-customizable substance
  3. Ohmygod, there's a search box!
Regarding the user-customizable features, Donovan states "the disconnect between how people use their personal computer and how carriers force us to use our mobile phone is vast. MEdia Net doesn't eliminate this gap, but it shows how it can be closed."

Donovan says MEdia Net allows users the ability to configure ontent and include websites they want. He then states "while on the Web this My Yahoo!-styled customization is old hat, very Web 1.0, it's unheard of for a US mobile carrier to give its customers such flexibility."

Donovan points out that the feature getting the most buzz is the scrolling Live Ticker service, which he thinks" works very well," but is only limited to the Motorola v557. More importantly, Donovan concludes that the less flashy but very useful MEdia Net enhancements:
rolled out today to over 150 devices with the promise that 30 million Cingular customers will have this improved experience by the end of the year. As much fun as the flash is, the market will move forward and mobile data will become ubiquitous only if carriers make broad improvements in the day to day experiences that typical mobile subscribers, as Cingular has done today.

And today's carriers better hop to it, because I expect that the MVNOs waiting in the wings, notably AMP'd and Helio, are planning on redefining what consumers should expect from their mobile phone provider.