Jeff Kagan

About the Author Jeff Kagan


IDG Contributor Network: 2018 CCA Mobile Carriers Show helps smaller wireless carriers compete

How do smaller wireless carriers compete and win against the powerhouses of the industry like AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and Sprint. Smaller competitors like US Cellular, Xfinity Mobile, C Spire Wireless and many others face the same challenges, plus one more. Not only must they compete in a rapidly changing industry against the big four, but they are smaller and must also offer the user a compelling reason to choose them.

The CCA is the association that tries to help them do just that. At this year’s annual convention in Las Vegas at the end of March, the Mobile Carriers Show is getting ready to help the small and mid-size wireless marketplace. That means networks, carriers, MVNO, handset makers, apps and more. Many of the same players are at this smaller carrier show that are at the larger shows like CTIA and Mobile World Congress.

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Business

The 3 Faces of Customer Care

Companies are run by people. Some do a great job of putting the customer first and growing, which ultimately rewards investors. Others don’t. Some first focus on investors and numbers, simply not caring about or taking care of the customer. That approach can have a serious and long-term negative impact on the company. Following are several examples of what some companies are doing right and wrong.

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IDG Contributor Network: Amazon Go uses wireless to launch retail grocery store

Amazon Go finally launched after a year of trial and error. If successful, this will help them first transform the grocery business and eventually all of retail. They are using wireless technology as the center of this new universe. Let’s take a look at how the world of retail has changed and will continue to change going forward thanks to Amazon and mobile technology.

What is Amazon Go? It lets you walk in, pick up what you want and walk out. No cashiers, no credit cards, no unloading your basket, packing bags and reloading it. As you walk out, sensors charge the app on your smartphone. It’s very similar to ordering online from Amazon, but it’s in a retail environment.

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IDG Contributor Network: Federated Wireless offers solution to wireless data spectrum shortage

As an industry, wireless simply does not have enough data spectrum. Now add to that the rapid growth of the industry and increased demand by users and you can see the problem. Federated Wireless is a company with a solution to this growing spectrum shortage. You may not have heard of them yet. They are a relatively new company with spectrum to share, and a breakthrough idea.

I was recently briefed by Federated Wireless CEO Iyad Tarazi. I have written about this need, many times over many years. Today, every wireless carrier needs more spectrum to make their apps and other features work well.

Larger carriers like AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and Sprint have their own spectrum, but still need access to more. Smaller carriers like US Cellular, C Spire Wireless and others may not have enough or even any of their own spectrum, yet still need it to remain competitive in today’s wireless world. So, every wireless carrier needs spectrum to remain competitive.

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IDG Contributor Network: Marketers should enter auto infotainment quickly and carefully

At CES 2018, cutting-edge marketers are starting to see the automobile infotainment system as their newest playground. How they can use wireless technology to deliver advertising messages to a captive audience. However, I want to warn that this new revolution is a double-edged sword. Companies must enter this space, but if they don’t do so correctly, they will hurt themselves.

In-car infotainment systems are an exciting new rapidly growing area. However, advertising, marketing and brand building messages must be carefully thought through and delivered. You must start carefully. It must not be intrusive. Remember, this has traditionally been a private space for the user and many of them will push-back if not done correctly.

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IDG Contributor Network: Fight iPhone and Android smartphone device addiction

Suddenly, we are having a debate on device addiction of smartphones like Apple iPhone and Google Android. I have written about this many times over the last decade. This impacts everyone, from the enterprise to users and needs to have a higher profile. We need to find solutions to this growing problem. It’s good to see that we are finally discussing this important point.

Addiction is a disease, and addiction to electronics like the iPhone and Android smartphones is new, but is impacting our entire society. Just think of all the people you see every day with their faces plastered to the screen of their smartphone.

There are two sides to this problem. One side is bad, but surprisingly, the other side is good. We have begun this new conversation with the Apple iPhone. I think it will only spread over time. I think we should expect it to ultimately include every smartphone and then every electronic device that is habit forming. It will even spread to apps of which many people are addicted.

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IDG Contributor Network: Wireless is center of CES 2018 universe

Wireless plays an incredibly important role in the products and services that make up this year’s CES 2018 in Las Vegas. Things change quickly. A decade ago you didn’t see many wireless carriers, handset makers or wireless data services at the show. However, over the years, as wireless data has continued to speed up and expand, most products and services use wireless and that’s a very big story this year.

Think about it. Of course, wireless is still that service which your iPhone, Android or tablet link up to. However, wireless data services are also rapidly growing in more directions than you realize. They are starting to empower countless other industries, products and services.

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Marketing

Verizon’s Reawakening

Verizon is finally snapping out of the doldrums it has been stuck in for the last several years. It seems to be on a comeback trail, thanks to its new advertising campaign. All of a sudden, it is blowing its own horn again. Verizon and Verizon Wireless in recent years have made many high-profile missteps, goofs and errors, but it looks as though the company is finally taking a different route.

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Opinions

Uber Is Great Until It Leaves You Out in the Cold

Uber works great — until it stops working, leaving your kid walking home alone on a cold winter night. Wireless technology opens up new avenues for innovation and excitement, with companies like Uber and Lyft. Most of the time, their technologies work just fine, but don’t let your guard down. Prepare for the moment when something goes wrong, because eventually something always goes wrong.

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Mobile

Which Is Best for You: iPhone 8, iPhone X or Galaxy S8?

Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android operating system hit the marketplace one decade ago. Ten years later, there’s still plenty of debate over which is better. I’ve lately been asked which of three new flagship phones is better: Apple’s iPhone 8, its iPhone X, or Samsung’s new Galaxy S8, which runs Google Android? Smartphones have gone through some remarkable changes over the years.

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Trends

The Eve of the Self-Driving Revolution

A decade ago, there wasn’t much talk about self-driving cars or autonomous-cars, but Toyota and Lexus were setting the stage with their self-parking cars. They aired television commercials showing how cars magically parallel-parked themselves. At the time, it seemed amazing, but that was nothing compared to what’s coming next. The self-parking revolution is now expanding.

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Privacy

Artificial Intelligence vs. Echo’s Eavesdropping and Google’s Home Invasion

There’s a lot of excitement about all the new artificial intelligence technology hitting the market — like Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home smart speakers, among many other products. However, there’s also growing concern over how these devices may invade our privacy. Despite the companies’ assurances to the contrary, some people worry that they could be listening to every word we utter.

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Trends

Are You Ready for a RoboCEO?

Here’s a disturbing thought: A RoboCEO powered by artificial intelligence — possibly based on IBM’s Watson — could be running some companies within the next decade. Not every company will warm to the idea, to be sure, but it’s conceivable that the practice could begin. This idea has started to bubble to the surface, with leaders like Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma apparently taking it seriously.

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Trends

Artificial Intelligence, Smart Speakers and You

The artificial intelligence speaker war is now being waged, and it is escalating. Today you can choose between Amazon Echo and Google Home. Harman Kardon’s Invoke is coming this fall. By the end of the year, Apple’s HomePod will be competing in the market, and Samsung has indicated it will join the fray as well. With all these choices, how can you determine which smart speaker is right for you?

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Boardroom

What Will Rise From Uber’s Ashes?

There has been quite a bit of churn in the waters around Uber during the last few years. Now that founder Travis Kalanick is no longer CEO, what does the future look like for the company, workers, drivers, investors and customers? Will Uber continue to grow and lead, or has it seen its best days? Most people connected to the company probably would say the same thing: They want calm but rapid growth.

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E-Commerce

How Amazon Is Transforming Retail

Amazon’s plan to buy Whole Foods Market has raised many new questions. If the company is successful in making the acquisition, and then successful in operating the business, it could transform the entire grocery industry. If we pull the camera back, we can see how success on the grocery side could foreshadow Amazon’s success in many other parts of the retail environment.

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Opinions

Amazon’s Echo Show: The Future Is Here

Amazon recently launched its Echo Show, which brings a visual screen to its smart speaker device. I wonder whether we’re ready to start living in what seems like a futuristic Star Trek world. The Echo Show experience is sort of like having a laptop sitting on your table — one that uses AI, allows you to speak to it, speaks back to you, and shows you relevant things on its screen.

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Service Providers

Netflix Climbs the Growth Wave as Cable TV Slides

A few short years ago, Netflix was nothing more than a mail order Blockbuster-type video rental business. Since then, it has been growing rapidly and changing. Believe it or not, Netflix today has more U.S. subscribers than cable TV. That’s an amazing accomplishment for Netflix — and a major hit to traditional cable television. Netflix and cable TV are on opposite sides of the growth wave.

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Service Providers

The Best Wireless Service and Smartphone

During a recent grocery checkout conversation, the cashier asked me which was the best wireless service and best smartphone. This is a question I get frequently, and though it seems straightforward, it’s difficult to answer. As I told the cashier, it depends. “On what?” she asked. That’s when I realized that the industry’s marketing doesn’t answer the big question: “Which carrier is best for me?”

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Mobile

Charter’s Wireless Play

Charter Spectrum has announced it will resell Comcast’s Xfinity Mobile wireless service to customers inside its region. The good news is that this deal lets Charter get quick access to wireless without competing with Comcast. Comcast and Charter Communications last week said they had reached an “operational agreement” about working together.

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E-Commerce

Will Amazon Go Reinvent Retail?

Every time I walk into a retail store, I grumble about the same pet peeve. After walking the aisles and filling the basket, you then must go through the most inefficient checkout process. First you unload everything in your basket, then it’s rung up, then you put the items in bags that go back into your basket before you can walk out of the store. There must be a better way.

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Trailblazers

A Solution for the Uber CEO’s Anger Problem

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has earned a reputation for having a short fuse. In addition to his apparent personal anger management issues, there are the stresses that come with running a giant company — and Uber recently has been losing executives. When it rains, it pours. What’s happening with Kalanick, and can Uber recover its mojo? Many people have issues with anger, but few are in the spotlight.

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