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GUEST POST FROM IDC: MTS AND SMALL BUSINESSES

Friday, September 25, 2009
By Timothy Doherty, Research Analyst for Small and Medium Business Mobility Markets for IDC

IDC has recently published a report examining the small and medium business initiatives of MTS, and we wanted to share the key insights here on the MTS IR Blog.

As in other regions worldwide, the small and medium-business (SMB) market in Russia represents a significant untapped revenue opportunity for operators, but presents a number of challenges. SMBs typically have fewer IT resources than large enterprises to rely on when making technology purchase decisions, making customer education vital. Although the SMB market in aggregate constitutes a substantial opportunity, each individual customer represents a relatively modest volume; efficiencies in marketing and ongoing customer support are therefore of paramount importance. MTS has implemented a number of strategies in its core Russian market to target the small and medium-sized business market.

Like SMB-savvy operators in the United States and Western Europe, MTS is leveraging an SMB web portal to better manage its SMB customers. Online portals not only allow direct payments, but also let customers explore and opt in and out of services. Given the vast size of Russia, the web portal is one of the efficient ways MTS can interact with subscribers and provide customer support.

While enterprises frequently have a dedicated operator support representative to rely on, this model is not cost-effective for SMBs. Still, to cultivate customer loyalty and sell deeper into customers, some sort of support relationship must exist. Akin to small business specialists at other operators in more developed markets in North America and Europe, MTS has small business curators: development managers who analyze service usage by customers and promote the benefits of additional services. The curator program allows MTS to educate its existing customer base and sell through additional phone lines and services; since the launch of the program, MTS reports that a typical small business customer initially purchases two lines, but adds another four lines inside the first 6 months.

To get more insight into the MTS work in the SMB market, please refer to our recent report.

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