Making Telecom VAS (Value Added Services) a Success: TIM Mentor

We’ve discussed previously the missed opportunity of operators’ websites in educating customers on all the services they offer.  Normally there’s a service name, a terse incomprehensible description, and a monthly price.  Its designed to fail in today’s environment when use cases (videos, cartoons, simple text and graphic descriptions), freemium and trial-to-buy business models are essential.

I’m seeing more and more innovation in telecoms come from markets outside the usual suspects of developed markets.  Mentor TIM is a service offered exclusively by TIM Brazil, which helps corporate clients understand and use the functionality of their smartphones, thereby facilitating the access to TIM’s value-added services. The service consists of individual or group training (available in Rio de Janeiro, Niterói, São Paulo, Curitiba and Belo Horizonte) provided on-site or remotely by highly qualified professionals.

TIM launched ‘Liberty Web Empresa’, which offers 6 months of free internet access through the cell phone. This allowed companies to acquire full voice and data solutions through smartphones. Currently, a important part of sales for the corporate segment comes out with an active internet service over the smartphone. All customers who purchases this solution receive free of charge ‘Mentor TIM’, a one-to-one training in person or by telephone that guides the customer to use all the resources of his new smartphone and data solutions. In late 2010, ‘Mentor TIM’ completed, more than 100 thousand trained TIM users.

For TIM Brazil revenues originating from VAS services accounted for 13% of gross service revenue, with a growth of 20% in the year.  Helping customers understand and use services makes business sense.  I see many operators bemoan the OTT (Over The Top) threat, and not do anything about it except moan, TIM Brasil shows there is something that can be done, it works, and its making them money.