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Mobile commerce

mPortal Makes Idling Exciting on Cox & Cricket

mPortal Inc. is revamping the home screen for two wireless operators Wednesday, one trying to break into the mobile market with a differentiated offer and another trying to drive additional revenue from its mobile users.

First up, Cox Communications Inc. is using mPortal to create a branded mobile user experience via Mobile Widgets running in the idle screen of its phones. Using mPortal's Springboard smart client and content delivery manager, the MSO built a personalized home screen for its own and third-party Internet widgets.

Cox's Home Screen

Leap Wireless International Inc. (Nasdaq: LEAP)'s consumer-facing brand Cricket Communications Inc. has been using this platform for a while now, but is taking it to the next level by adding in mobile click-to-action ads that pop up on the home screen when it's not in use. The ads can be displayed on feature phones or smartphones.

Why this matters
These customer wins by mPortal are important for several reasons. First, they remind us smartphone-centric users that feature phones still matter. In fact, 234 million Americans still own them, according to comScore Inc. .

Second, it's proof that Cox still cares about mobility. Cox has been relatively quiet since its initial market launches, so it's good to see some signs of life at the MSO. (See Cox Wireless Is Go for Launch.)

Finally, mPortal's Cox deployment demonstrates one way that triple-play providers can tie together their entire bundle of services. The platform lets the operator choose what apps it promotes to users and also provides Cox's own apps, such as a DVR widget. It keeps Cox front and center for its customers and unifies the app experience around one portal.

"We can give Cox tools needed to promote whatever service they want to," says mPortal CEO D.P. Venkatesh. "If they want to promote video services, we push the video widget to the home screen and give access to video solutions."

The strategy has worked well for Cricket so far. Venkatesh says the carrier has seen significant uptake on content and apps because of its widget platform, which is why it's ready to bring ads to the mix.

Personalizing the home screen with ads and widgets is an opportunity for wireless operators to promote their brand and drive extra revenue. Whether consumers want the widgets the operators choose to promote and the ads that infiltrate their idle screen, however, is another story.

For more
For more on how operators are using their mobile phone's screen real estate for marketing and personalization, check out the following stories:



— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 5:13:23 PM
re: mPortal Makes Idling Exciting on Cox & Cricket

I think updating the user interface and widgets are great, esp for feature phones that otherwise wouldn't have that, but I'm not excited about the ad platform. Even if it sends you ads when you're not using the phone, consumers rarely actually want them -- only exception being if they're getting something in return. In an app, you might be. On the home screen, no.

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