by Carlo Longino

Brute Force Marketing

Over in Sweden, Hutchison Whampoa's 3 is reportedly seeing a surge in customer defections as contracts signed by customers around the operators' launch are coming due and aren't being renewed. One big problem for 3 is its intial customers' unhappiness with their 3G handsets, which a year ago were much clunkier and worse-performing than current models, and it would appear that the situation for Swedish consumers is much the same as other places in the world, where carriers put a much bigger emphasis on attracting new customers with deals on handsets than retaining existing customers. Operators justify locking customers into 12-month or longer contracts in order to recoup the subsidies that make those handsets so cheap, but often they become cover for poor service. Much of operators' marketing efforts focuses on new users and locking them into contracts, with retaining existing customers strangely not carrying as much weight. Most industries don't have the luxury of tying their customers into lengthy contracts, guaranteeing their custom -- is it any wonder, then, that nobody ever seems really happy with their mobile service or operator?

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