Kyrgyzstan mobile operator Megacom has introduced a new service called “Where Is My Handset?” The service enables customers to locate lost devices and is available in the operator’s service centers upon presenting one’s ID. The price of a single inquiry is KGS 50.00 (US $0.72). Devices can be located if they are active and if less than 24 hours has passed since switch-off.
A contrarian might argue that offering a lost-device-locating service is contrary to the interests of a mobile operator, because a subscriber who has just lost a device is at that time strongly motivated to purchase a new one—through the operator! However, we believe that it is not only good ethics but good business for Megacom to offer this service. By giving a tangible answer to the question “Where is my handset?”, the operator can generate consumer gratitude, which will help build consumer loyalty. Furthermore, while some devices, such as the iPhone, have a native app that can find a lost phone, for an operator to essentially brand the feature to itself is a valuable piece of marketing and yet another way to keep users within its ecosystem. Finally, the price of each inquiry, while comfortably low from the consumer standpoint, may well generate some revenue for the operator.