Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Testing Your Signal Before You Buy

According to cnn there is a new application out for the Android Market that allows users to give feedback on where they get the best, worst, and total lack of signal for their smart phones. This app will send information without you having to do anything at all since the program runs in the background. There is even an option to remove your fingerprint from any and all data that is being transmitted, in case you are worried about having your name attached to something that is publicly viewable. All this data is taken from every person with the app allowing the app to design maps showing what areas have the best signal strength for all the carriers. The idea is to let people make sure their phone would work in the places they are most often without them having to personally test it by purchasing the phone and then finding out it doesn't work. This is an easy way for people to get an unbiased view on which provider would be best for them.

Now that something like this is out, I expect it will become quite popular and could cause certain companies to loose quite a bit of business. If Verizon doesn't work in half of Austin, for example, then companies like AT&T and T-Mobile could rope in a lot more customers allowing their revenue to grow. I think this could cause a company to become a lot more popular than they are right now or end up causing the company to lose a lot of their customers and possibly shutting down. This would cause the market to get smaller, which would cause prices to grow because there would be less competition. With less competition companies could begin to start charging more money for their services and if only one or two of the companies work in your area then you may end up getting stuck with a plan that is a lot more expensive. On the other hand, apps like this could cause companies to be forced to improve their signal quality or face bankruptcy, which would be very good for the consumer because we would get the benefit of better overall coverage as well as prices similar to the ones we see now. No matter the outcome, this app will definitely have weight in the cell phone business.


Smith said...

Great analysis. Do you think this technology could be applied to other areas, if so how and where? Also, what would be the economic impact of this different implementation.

Lindsay said...

Ethan made some great points, I think he is really dead on with this analysis.
I know computer programs and brands, will ask you to sign up for a questionaire sort of deal to get feed back from your experience periodically. I think this is a great idea, it really helps companies become better, and also it gives the customer a sense of importance. It makes them feel like they are helping out. I think that feeling, will keep customers around and keep them in the companies.