Wi-Fi vs. mobile data
Mobile internet networks are quickly becoming the primary source for internet over traditional broadband networks. According to the Washington Post, home internet access was once a luxury where the poor had less reliable access or were less likely to able to afford access and the rich had better access. Higher income brackets were more likely to have both mobile and broadband internet access and lower incomes were more likely to rely on mobile internet alone.
However, by-in-large, broadband internet is becoming less popular despite socioeconomic status in a recent study by the US Census Bureau of 53,000 Americans. Though low income Americans still are the largest group to rely on mobile internet alone, higher income households are letting go of their wired connections at a similar or faster rate than other groups.
A ReportLinker survey added to this knowledge and revealed that nearly 40 percent of respondents use their smartphones to access the internet at home. When isolating the millennials, the statistics are much higher. 55 percent of all millennials and 60 percent of younger millennials are using the internet through their mobile devices. On the other hand, the older generations are holding on to traditional wired broadband connections. It is possible that as the Millennial group ages, they will rely more on mobile internet access at home thus contributing to the rapid reduction in wired homes.
Mobile providers are key players in this shift when they began offering unlimited data packages. Though unlimited once had a high data cap that most would not reach with normal usage, new package deals are truly unlimited with no secret caps. Verizon recently joined other providers by offering an unlimited data package, however, most respondents (58 percent) were not interested. Possibly because other providers have already begun to offer this service and users already have the unlimited plan (31 percent). It is possible that Verizon was driven to begin offering unlimited data to retain their own customers who are sensitive to better prices and offerings.
The most popular mobile service providers among respondents were the Big 4, which are Verizon (29 percent), AT&T (20 percent), T-Mobile (15 percent) and Sprint (12 percent). Smaller no-contract-based companies, like MetroPCS and StraightTalk are also popular. Users can be sensitive to price and reliability because there are more options of mobile providers to choose from. Traditional broadband companies, however, have the advantage of typically being the only option or one of two options in many geographical areas.
Among broadband users, the ReportLinker survey revealed that more than 20 percent were persuaded by package deals that include cable TV, internet and a landline along with the shear speed of the connection. Of those who have more than one option in their area, the chosen company was typically the one with the best package deal. According to the ReportLinker survey, almost 25 percent of respondents reported that price determined their choice for a broadband provider. 20 percent reported that reliability and coverage drove their decision.
Though satisfaction is typically high with providers, mobile customers are not loyal to the point of not considering changing providers with the right incentive. Though 81 percent of users reported being satisfied with the reliability of their service, less (nearly 75 percent) were satisfied with price. Mobile users reported being more satisfied with their provider’s pricing than broadband users who only had one choice of providers. The landscape with surely drive the market even more toward mobile-based internet access if the 5G speeds continue to attract users away from wired connections.
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Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.