What were Virgin Mobile Australia's defining moments of 2015?

2015 has been a huge year for the Virgin Group so we're catching up with our Virgin companies to find out what have been the highlights for their businesses. Here, Virgin Mobile Australia's CEO David Scribner tells us why data has been the word of the year for them...

What was your company’s biggest success of the year?

For Virgin Mobile Australia, 2015 saw some big moments in terms of industry firsts – shaking up the market we operate in as only Virgin brands know how to.  Firstly we became the first Aussie telco to introduce data rollover, allowing customers to roll their unused data over from one month to the next. 

Read more: Australia braces itself for the technology gold rush

In October we partnered with music streaming provider, Guvera to give our customers a free 1GB each month to stream the music they love on the go.  With both of these innovations we tapped into customer insights and solved their pain points – losing data they’d paid for and worrying about data usage with streaming music on their mobiles.  We’ve had great feedback from both existing and new customers on the value of both offers and we’re seeing our customers spend more than ever before with us this year, which is a great sign.

What was the biggest surprise of the year in business?

The biggest surprise of the year for us has been not just the growth in our customers’ data usage – but the rate at which this has accelerated.  We’ve known for some time now that data is king and consumers are using their phones to do more and more on the go, but even we didn’t anticipate quite how fast this growth would be – we’ve actually seen data usage on smartphones double over the past year which is phenomenal.  It’s an exciting trend and one we’ve tapped into with our new partnership with content streaming service, Presto – giving customers data each month to watch their favourite shows and movies on the go.

Read more: Was 2015 the year of the wearable?

How do you think that your industry will change in 2016?

I think the biggest news for the telco industry in 2016 will be in the handset space – both in terms of new providers and new functionality within handsets themselves.  As people use their handsets to do more and more in their lives, we’ve already seen the smartphone disrupt other industries including photography, music and video – I think this is a trend we can expect to continue with mobile payments and virtual reality becoming more mainstream.  Wearables have also been on our radar for some time now but with the Apple watch generating seven million sales in six months and a predicted growth for the market of 800 per cent before 2020, they’ll continue to be a key trend for 2016. 

Image from Virgin Mobile Australia

What's the most important thing you've learnt this year?

The most important thing I’ve learnt over the past year is the importance of a long idea for us as a brand to connect to our customers.  We often focus on providing customers with the best offer, knowing our market revolves around customers looking for the “best deal”, but what’s more important is giving consumers a reason to actually choose you as a brand – and stick with you for the long term.  We’ve seen a number of strong campaign spikes across the year, but I now want our focus to now be on connecting to our customers in a truly Virgin way – attracting customers who love the brand to be part of the Virgin family and giving them the red hot experience we’re famous for.

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