Why Carriers Need To Pay More Attention To The 3G User Interface

Steve Jones, from the 3G Portal, has written up a whitepaper about what wireless carriers should do to build up ARPUs while increasing loyalty, and focuses on how improvements to the 3G user interface could go a long way. Much of the article can be summarized in this simple sentence: “if 3G phones are complicated to use and the applications suck, then low prices, fantastic support, ubiquity and endurance will count for nothing.” This doesn’t sound all that surprising, though you wouldn’t know it from looking at some of the UIs you come across. The wireless carriers will say they’re getting better every day and/or blame the handset makers or OS and application designers. The real issue, though, is that many people within the carriers still focus on the wrong things for attracting customers. They talk about data rates, when the average consumer wants something that’s usable. The article also hints at the fact that people become somewhat addicted to user interfaces and applications they like. If the phones are designed in ways that catch on, people will be loathe to leave, while more willing to explore new possibilities (that may even cause them to spend some more money). Not sure this is the most important thing, but it is still worth thinking about.

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