Amp ' d Mobile: From Media to Minutes

Was at E3 yesterday. Ironically, my first chance to check out the Amp'd mobile service on a "live" network. As most of the display/booth area was filled with women doing photo shoots, I was mostly left alone. No one even wanted to scan my card while I played with their device/services for more than 20 minutes. They definitely fit in to the environment.

I overheard a gentleman ask an employee if the 22,000 subscriber number that we all ready about earlier this week was a true number. She said that she thought they had closer to 5,000 subscribers. Who knows. No judgement here ... customer acquisition is very very hard. I think MVNO's like Amp'd and Helio can play a role in pushing the envelope in terms of how consumers view their handsets and how carrier sell services so we like to see them stick around.

More interesting though were the pamphlets they were passing out. They were advertising $99 for unlimited minutes forever ... and free phones (with some strings attached). The $99 was the lead message on the cover of the pamphlet. Inside, there were more details on their media offerings. Wow. This is from an MVNO that markets themselves as a media company. We've known that the percentage of mobile subscribers choosing wireless carriers based on entertainment offerings is statistically "zero." Amp'd has said though that they can be profitable (not sure if this takes into account current pricing of handsets/services) with 500,000 subscribers which is statistically zero percent market share. Technically, from their claims, they can be profitable with less than one percent market share.

It is interesting though that only six months from their launch, they are using a marketing message - value based minutes and handsets - that the wireless carriers know works and appeals to a much broader base. Could be a sign that the market is not yet ready for "media" to lead the marketing message even for less than one percent of the market.

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