The History of the Tracfone Company

Tracfone, which is now one of the top 10 cellular providers in the US [as well as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands], has had an interesting history, as companies go. The company first made their mark in 1996, under the name Topp Telecom, Inc. Within a few years, they found themselves being supported by Mexican company Telmex, who bought a controlling interest [55%] in the company. By 2000, the company was split from Telmex, and began to grow exponentially, after taking on the name Tracfone. The company expanded its market share and began to bring in more business as the days went by.

Tracfone is now one of the biggest prepaid wireless companies in the United States. Because they enable users to buy prepaid minutes on a wide variety of phones [including hot brands such as LG, Motorola, Nokia, and Kyocera] they have become an excellent option for people who do not want to deal with the hassles of credit checks and long-term contracts with phone companies. This accounts for much of Tracfone’s success.

Unlike some prepaid cellular services – especially those in the past – Tracfone enables people to use some of the most popular phones and have all the options that a cell phone user with a standard-issue binding contract would have. As such, the company has built its stellar reputation on this. Nobody wants an inferior phone simply because they chose to use pre-paid services rather than be tied to a contract for anywhere from 12-24 months – or more.

In addition to being popular in the United States market, Tracfone dominates Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Further, they are the most popular cellular provider in Latin America. With nearly 10 million customers and an always-growing, eager customer base, it is no surprise that the company has enjoyed so much success and continues to grow every year.

Tracfone actually provides two services – Tracfone and Net10. The two services are provided by the same company, with the same quality, though Net10 only offers GSM and CDMA services as of now. The company is expanding both of these services, as well as their TDMA service, despite most customers migrating to the former two.

Depending on the service that a Tracfone user chooses, as well as the specific phone they purchase, there are different deals that can be obtained by Tracfone customers. Some people who buy a plan with Tracfone will enjoy free text messaging, while others will pay a few cents per text. It is important to look at the fine details and choose a phone and plan that will work best for your needs. If you frequently text people, those few cents per text could add up, and it would be in your best interest to invest in a phone that enables you to text for free.

As you can see, Tracfone is a company that many people have come to rely on, and it is also a company with flexible options. It is the perfect choice for someone who wants a cell phone, but isn’t ready to commit a huge amount of money or time to a specific company, as Tracfone’s pre-paid plans do not require a contract. People can buy minutes for the phone based on both days of service as well as increments of time. This flexibility allows people to choose what sort of plan will best suit them and their specific needs as a customer. This is definitely part of what attracts people to Tracfone, and why the company has so many loyal customers. Their innovative way of dealing with cellular users by giving them many options is an excellent way for them to continue to grow and profit as a company.

Citibank’s Transformation of Traditional Money Management Into E-Business

Citibank’s strategic intent is to convert its traditional money management business into an e-business framework. How does Citibank transform its traditional assets into digital assets? What issues, if any, do you envision that Citibank must overcome in order for the implementation to be successful?

According to Porter two main ways for a company to compete are on cost advantage or on differentiation. Citibank chose not to compete on price, but instead chose to compete on differentiation.

Since many other companies have similar products and services, Citibank bases its differentiation on customer service. Traditionally, this involved “offering telephone hotlines, relationship managers who understood clients’ needs, product consultants who provided service expertise and most important, continuous investment in technology to support both the front-end and the back-end electronic banking systems”. In order for “successful” transformation of traditional assets into digital assets the company must maintain or enhance its differentiation. Since the company’s differentiation is based on customer service, that means that in the transformation from traditional to digital assets the company must continue to be highly responsive to the customers’ current and future needs, and must do so to a higher level than the competition.

One main way that Citibank achieved transition from traditional to digital was via alliances with such technological companies as Oracle, Commerce One Inc, SAP AG, Wisdom Technologies and Bolero.net. Earlier the company invested millions of dollars on its own in multiple areas of e-business, and failed. Technology is not Citibank’s area of expertise, and it found dealing with constantly changing technology to be an expensive struggle, which it ultimately lost. However, by 2000 Citibank had changed its strategy to one of garnering alliances and using its partners’ strengths to create the technological infrastructure that the company needed to access markets and meet its customers changing demands. Working through alliances reduced Citibank’s risks and costs, increased its effectiveness, and allowed it to remain flexible in meeting changing technological and customer demands.

Customer demands varies, both in the short term and long term. According to McCauley and Kahn, one of the most important obstacles for Citibank to overcome in migrating customers from traditional to digital service was meeting their deep seated concerns about security. While to some degree this hindered Citibank’s efforts in rolling out Web-based applications, Citi did actively implement “multi-layered security architecture… public and private access keys, single-use passwords and multiple authorization controls” in order to meet customer needs (2002, p. 9). In addition, with digital processing it looked to transform repeatable processes that could be “commoditized” into an efficient digital factory. Commoditizing repeatable processes improves efficiency, but also allows resources for additional regional focus — localization. So too, Citibank’s strong brand name is a resource that translates into increased trust as a “trusted provider” when competing with Deutche Bank and other competitors. In fact, most Fortune 500 companies assign value to Citibank’s specific offerings, and prefer it to other international payment providers. Citibank, then, offers multiple areas of value to customers.

The key question, however, is whether this value translates into a competitive advantage which translates into additional profits. Though Citibank met their customers’ needs in the area of information technology, how unique is what it offered? Cutting edge technological capabilities can soon become “hygiene factors”, which are considered to be required, rather than a competitive advantage. These then, do not qualify for differentiation or competitive advantage. While at one point Citibank may have offered cutting edge technological capabilities, the competitive advantages these afford can quickly be eroded. Customer service and transactional efficiency are important. However we need to ask what other areas of business require attention in order for Citibank’s ultimate success. If these are not met, the corporation will not meet its growth goals.

3 Different Types of Screen Protectors

A plastic or glass screen protector is a perfect solution to minimize damage to all types of on-the-go electronic devices. Screen protectors come in several different materials to increase the ability to provide the right protection and minimize issues with unwanted marks or scratches on the screen. Here are three of the different types of screen protectors:

PET Film

The PET film is one of the most common choices on the market and can provide plenty of useful benefits. This type provides a reliable solution to protect the screen at a relatively low price. Plus, there are many different types of protectors in this category which vary from the plain to matte finishes. A great positive of the PET film is the ease of installation and removal, as well as the high transparency for crystal-clear viewing. But, this film does have the negative of being prone to fingerprint marks and gives minimal protection in the event of impact.

For greater resistance to marks, scratches, or fingerprints, the matte PET film is the preferred option. However, this film can present a slight downgrade in the quality of the screen visibility.

Liquid

The intention of the liquid screen protector is to give the portable device long-term protection against scratches that result from normal wear and tear, repels dust, and leaves the screen feeling smooth. A single application of this nano coating technology is said to provide protection for up to 6 months. Plus, this type of screen protector has the ability to provide twice the protection of the more traditional films, while also being resistant to water spills and providing anti-static qualities.

The liquid screen protectors are more practical on the oleophobic coated or gorilla glass devices and don’t have much of an impact on devices with regular tempered glass screens.

Tempered Glass

The tempered glass screen protector is a sturdier option compared to the thin (about 0.1mm), plastic choices. Tempered glass has a thickness in the region of 0.3-0.5mm and gives a feel that is virtually the same as the original screen. Some of the great qualities of this type of protector is the oleophobic coating (reduces stain or fingerprint marks) and a higher degree of impact protection. Also, the installation process is usually a lot easier than using the plastic film. A slight downside to the glass protectors is the thickness, which is more noticeable on certain devices and might cause aesthetic issues for some users.

12 Amazing Bluetooth Facts

Bluetooth is a wireless technology that allows personal computers, laptops, cell phones and other electronic devices to communicate with each other over short distances of about 10 meters to transfer information / files from one device to another. It uses radio waves and is designed to be a secure and inexpensive way of connecting and switching information between devices wirelessly.

Following are a few of the most informative Bluetooth facts from the arsenal of thousands.

Fact # 1: "Bluetooth" refers to Harold Blatand who was the tenth century Danish king and unified the Norwegians and Danes.

Fact # 2 : The renowned Andretti Green Racing team communicated during the race using Bluetooth devices

Fact # 3: According to a research the, this device users was expected to rise more than one billion by the year 2006.

Fact # 4: Analysts predict that one third of all new cars in the world will have built-in wireless Bluetooth connections.

Fact # 5: A lot of latest Bluetooth medical equipment, are being manufactured and deployed by hospitals to enhance the patient care.

Fact # 6: Latest wireless communication enabled devices let you watch images on your TV screen. This can be achieved using laptop or mobile phone over a wireless connection to a media viewer.

Fact # 7: Printing can be done wirelessly now! One can send files to print from Bluetooth enabled computer or mobile gadget directly to printer. There are also small home use printers that just print out color pictures by taking wireless input from cell phone or computer.

Fact # 8: The latest Multi point pairing Bluetooth enabled interface lets you connect with more than one Bluetooth devices, for example your cell phone can be connected to Stereo Bluetooth headset and your computer at a time

Fact # 9: One of the fastest growing devices in "Bluetooth hands free" and the second largest overall application, just behind the hands free is "stereo audio".

Fact # 10: Extensive Bluetooth usage is hazardous for health. Blue tooth uses microware radio waves with the frequency range of 2.4 GHz to 2.4835 GHz and the power output from a Blue tooth radio is 100 mW, 2.5 mW, and 1 mW for class 1, class 2 and class 3 devices respectively. The class 1 is almost at the same level as cell phones are, whereas class2 and class 3 are much lower than class 1 and considered less of potential hazard then cell phones.

Fact # 11: Future of Blue tooth is expected to have information points for broadcasting channels, this will start the real usage of wireless connections inside the mobiles and enable advertising models based around users pulling information from the info points, and not based on current limited object push model. One of the best Bluetooth stereo headset companies which is expected to excel in this field is Motorola and Blackberry

Fact # 12: The latest wireless communication devices can now play a role of the "master" and can communicate with up to a maximum of 7 devices as "slave". This group of 8 devices (1 master + 7 slaves) is called a Piconet. At any given time, data can be transferred between the master and 1 slave; but the master switches quickly from slave to slave in a round-robin fashion to see for any further file transfer request.