AT&T's Lurie: Smartphone Delivery Will Become Important

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AT&T's President of Mobility and Consumer Operations, Glenn Lurie, spoke at MWC 2017 about the importance of customer service, and the impact of AT&T's smartphone delivery service. He talked about how AT&T's delivery service helps to meet customer's needs by providing flexibility. The delivery service is enabled by a deal with a startup called Enjoy, and according to Lurie, the customer response to the program has been quite positive. He summed up the matter by saying, "It's the customer's world and you just have to live in it," emphasizing a carrier's duty not just to provide good cellular service to customers at a decent price, but to provide good customer service and ensure a customer's needs are always met.

AT&T delivered some items before under special circumstances, but officially launched their service in full capacity with Enjoy back in 2015, the same year that Sprint launched a similar service, called Direct 2 You. The service is still going strong, and Lurie is convinced that such services will become an important part of the mobile landscape in the future, along with other elements of customer service. In essence, Lurie's speech implied that once the network and pricing playing fields are mostly level, the battle in the smartphone space will come down to customer service, perks, and extra services.

On the customer service front, Lurie noted that AT&T does not just offer a delivery service, but also offers customers support via retail associates at authorized locations, call centers, and even self-help and self-service efforts such as their customer service app. While carriers will be looking to alternative revenue streams like cars and IoT, especially as 5G rolls out commercially, and ways to increase their average revenue per user, if devices, networks, and prices become a largely even playing field in the near future, carriers will likely have to compete mainly on customer service to win over and keep mobile subscribers. Should that happen, Lurie's talking points at MWC become extremely valid; carriers will live and die by the extras they offer customers, and how good they are at keeping their reputation up and keeping customers happy.

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