Subscribers Want Service Providers to Protect Their Devices

Next Generation Communications Blog

Subscribers Want Service Providers to Protect Their Devices

By: Patrick Tan, Alcatel-Lucent General Manager of Network Intelligence

A recent U.S. survey by Alcatel-Lucent Motive found that 71% of smartphones had no security protection to defend against malware. That’s a sobering stat considering the 20% rate at which mobile malware is increasing annually. The malicious activity can degrade smartphone performance, secretly pirates your data minutes, and steal personal information from you, spy on your whereabouts and track your browsing calls, texts, emails and web browsing.

Now here’s where the survey gets even more interesting: It reveals 65% of mobile subscribers think it’s the service provider’s responsibility to protect their smartphones. And the majority is willing to pay their service provider for this mobile service – up to $4.40 per month!

For operators continually on the hunt for new revenue generating services and “sticky” offers that attract and retain subscribers, device security services is a lucrative and differentiating opportunity right under their nose.

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Operators already have a trusted billing relationship with customers. So who is more uniquely positioned to protect customers’ connections and content than the service provider?  By defending customers’ devices against malware, operators are protecting their own networks, strengthening their relationship with customers and ensuring subscribers have a high quality service experience.

Opportunity Knocks

Motive Security Labs (formerly Kindsight Security Labs) conservatively estimates that 15 million mobile devices are infected with malware at any one time. And with LTE and VoLTE devices flooding today’s market, subscribers are spending increasingly more time browsing the Web, accessing data and consuming video. As a consequence of being more active on the Internet, subscriber devices will be at greater risk of infection, which can cause unwanted traffic over an operator’s network. 

Service providers are wise to take the steps necessary to prevent infections that can also sour the customer service experience and potentially slow network performance. To do this, service providers need a cloud-based, network-driven security solution that can be rapidly deployed and scaled. Because it resides on the network, the security service is always-on and up-to-date and can pinpoint malware on subscriber devices without having to be installed on them. 

Alcatel-Lucent’s newly announced Motive Security Guardian fits that description: operators gain real-time insight into what subscribers and devices most affected by malware and the most common types of malware to better contain and block threats. It also enables operators to better understand how malware impacts their network resources and performance to arrive at strategies for improved efficiency and service delivery optimization. And by correlating malicious activity on the network to infected subscriber devices, it enables operators to proactively alert subscribers and provide step-by step instructions on how to remove the threat.

Seize the Opportunity (Before your competitor does)

Device security is an ideal path to service provider differentiation, new revenue and subscriber loyalty. Here’s proof:

  • Differentiation:  Protecting users’ devices, data and privacy can be a major selling point for service providers. Take the business case of TDS Telecommunications Group, which operates in 32 U.S. states. It offered a malware-detection service powered by Motive Security Guardian. It became the fastest-growing premium service ever launched by TDS with 8% of subscribers signing up in the first year. In addition to generating new revenue, the Hacker Alert service reduced the number of security-related support calls to TDS by 97.5%. And a retention rate of 96% proves that customers love it. 
  • New revenue:  Operators can provide security services superior to anti-virus products as a free package containing basic protection and as a premium service for which they charge a small monthly fee (up to $4.40 per month within the U.S.) for device protection. The opportunity is highest with high income subscribers and those that pay for their children’s connectivity as part of shared/family plans.
  • Subscriber loyalty:  Customer experience is the new frontier for competitive differentiation. When customer care is best-in-class, service providers more easily retain existing subscribers and attract new ones. When a security service is integrated with a service provider’s customer care environment, agents are empowered to more quickly identify and resolve malware related issues, resulting in shorter call times. Subscriber satisfaction is further enhanced when operators move from a reactive to proactive care approach: automatically sending malware alerts to subscribers with infected devices along with step-by-step instructions for removing malware threats at their convenience.    

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