WinWin Issue 42
Voices from Industry
Managing Director, Consumer Mobile, CSL Mobile Limited
CSL Mobile’s unique strategies to win customers
-- CSL Mobile (CSL), an HKT company, is the first local mobile operator to launch a true 5G network in Hong Kong with differentiated value-added services. With our fast-evolving 5G network backed by extensive spectrum resources across all bands, as well as a robust fiber backhaul infrastructure, CSL strives to offer their customers a competitive 5G portfolio.
CSL has achieved significant commercial success in 5G over the past three years, owing to the growing adoption of 5G services in both the consumer and enterprise segments. As at July 2022, 5G users make up 28% of HKT’s total mobile subscribers; the number is expected to grow to 30% by the end of 2022. Moreover, we are leading in terms of 5G traffic, which makes up more than 30% of our total mobile network traffic. This has helped us improve ARPU and drive earlier ROIs from 5G investments, as compared to 4G. Thanks to 5G and fixed broadband, the revenue (excluding mobile handset sales) of our parent company, HKT, grew by 5% to HKD14.87 billion in the first half of 2022.
At the center of this growth is our strong, customer-centric marketing initiatives that focus on building unique brand value and delivering high-quality user experience across all areas, including network and applications. Building on the success of these strategies, HKT’s 5G is enabling a positive business cycle across domains. Recently, HKT became the first mobile operator to provide full 5G coverage along all metro lines in Hong Kong.
CSL’s Unique Strategies to Win Customers
CSL adopts a user-driven approach that has taken our customer journey to a new level. For the consumer segment, we leverage our 5G services to deliver a differentiated experience in four focus areas: music, video/TV, VR and AR.
Our music service started in the 3G era and continued to grow during 4G. We have maintained a large number of subscribers who have been with us throughout the journey. With 5G, we aim to elevate their experience. We worked with our music streaming service partner, MOOV, to provide 24-bit FLAC lossless streaming on handsets to offer an excellent music experience on the go. In addition, we have prepared thousands of playlists and invited KOLs and celebrities to share their own to enrich the user journey.
For TV and video, currently we deliver 4K video content, including Netflix, Premier League and all kinds of popular TV and video content from the U.S., China, France, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Taiwan and more. CSL was also the first to launch a 5G multi-angle video concert, delivering a one-of-a-kind perspective for the audience to see their favorite stars.
For VR, we overcame issues with hardware and introduced Pico G2, an ultra-light wireless 4K VR headset. We have on offer some of the most popular VR gaming titles, including Zombie Street, Hostage Rescue, Extreme Challenge, Shooting Range and more. We also provide a range of VR entertainment content such as 4K multi-angle VR sports and K-Pop concerts. We see great potential in our AR/VR apps and will continue to facilitate a 5G ecosystem which will hopefully see further take-up as customers, especially the younger population, grow more accustomed to 5G.
To continue with the ethos of delivering user-oriented services, CSL wanted to further resonate with consumers. The latest frenzy of Hong Kong boy band MIRROR was just what we needed to bridge this gap. The “csl x MIRROR 5G Campaign” proved to be a popular initiative, designed for more customers to understand and experience AR outside of a one-off event setting. The campaign utilizes the csl. 5G Lens app, which allows CSL to reach customers by having them scan static images printed on campaign cards or outdoor billboards to see the latest videos of MIRROR. Using the app, they can also scan a different image for each calendar month to access secret video messages from different members of the band. In addition, the “csl x MIRROR 5G Campaign” offers collectible cards encrypted with special AR effects, which fans can scan for videos revealing interesting trivia about their favorite MIRROR members. Customers can collect and scan three consecutive AR-enabled cards in a particular order to watch a narrative from MIRROR.
CSL’s go-to-market strategy revolves around an understanding of the local market and what customers want. Today, operators work with a zillion bytes of data. The best way to understand what customers really need is by analyzing this data and creating services to match their interests. While adopting new technologies is undoubtedly important, the future hinges on an awareness of what innovations will drive us forward to deliver the right content in a customer-friendly way.
Equally critical to our user-driven approach is our pricing and device strategy. Today, customers are willing to pay for what they want. However, it is important to remember that customers will not pay you more if you cannot provide them with extra value. In terms of device strategy, 5G currently covers most existing devices from different brands, from high-end down to the mid- and low-end; meanwhile, 95% of new phones already support 5G. Terminals are one of the most important factors for 5G success and our device ecosystem is ready.
On the other hand, strengthening the network experience is as crucial as creating the applications. We need to measure network capability in terms of performance and latency to decide whether an application will run smoothly. The thing about networks is that it is a challenge to market their strengths; the marketing of hardware or devices is easier because they are tangible—if we can see the performance, we can sell their features. However, selling the intangible such as spectrum, bandwidth and speed is difficult. People tend to care more about the device they are using than their operator, because the network part is abstract. That is why we need to aspire to continuously improve our network and thus enhance the user experience, so that we can catch users’ attention.
The Way Forward
CSL’s journey as a digital experience provider has just started. We have diversified our services beyond telecom to serve our customers in more ways than one. For example, we offer premium concierge services, assisting customers in everything from booking golf sessions and tours to making restaurant reservations. Driven by our vision of offering a fully immersive 5G experience, we have established an all-round ecosystem encompassing HKT’s enterprise solutions, global interconnectivity, consumer broadband, media & entertainment, and mobile services, integrating several partner ecosystems. We have also incorporated loyalty programs, e-commerce, travel, insurance, big data analytics, FinTech and HealthTech services.
CSL is leveraging emerging technologies such as 5G, cloud computing, Internet of Things (“IoT”) and Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) to accelerate the digital transformation of enterprises and contribute to Hong Kong’s development into a smart, digital economy. As we move towards the 5.5G era around 2025, we expect more innovations around AI and IoT. We will need to mold our vision to incorporate these trends in our customer strategies, for both consumer and enterprise segments. With a strong foundation integrating primary services such as TV, music, broadband, mobile, fixed line, and enterprise services, we can connect these services using our network, spectrum, fiber and supporting technologies and drive them into the future, as we continue this journey alongside our customers in 5.5G and beyond.