Deadly synergies

I’m still obsessed the ways that pursuit of synergies that turn out to be dyssynergies is almost always a deadly mistake. So, I enjoyed Julie Ask’s Jupiter blog entry about the difficulty of buying unbundled data service for an unlocked cell phone.
Here are three elements that are bundled together (the handset, voice service, and data service) in a way that makes it impossible for the customer to get what she needs. The only reason someone even had this conversation is that the person in question was a mobile analyst who had access to a cool gadget, and knew what question to ask. Unfortunately, the answer to her question was “No”.
Confusion, forced choices, and high penalties for choosing the wrong plan will cause consumers to buy more than they need and pay more for it than they should. But in the long run, you can’t base a business on confusing your customers out of their money.
The current structure of the industry makes it possible the carriers to pursue these “synergies”. But the natural consequence is that their consumers are not the only ones who are confused about what business the mobile carriers are in.
Originally published on my blog at JupiterResearch.