Rui Costa: Rethinking Mobility For Our Customers
Q: You’ve worked for wireless companies in Portugal, Romania, The Netherlands, to name a few, and helped other American companies launch mobile services in more than 10 countries. What brought you to Comcast?
A: I chose these countries not because I wanted to live there but simply because they afforded the opportunity to fundamentally change consumer behavior. That’s how I ended up in the United States at Comcast. It was never part of my career plan to move here, but I'm very glad I did.
Q: How does the U.S. mobile market differ from Europe?
A: Beyond sheer size, the US market posed unique, if not impossibly attractive, challenges to someone looking to help evolve the mobile industry. The US is at the forefront on digital experiences across industries — except on mobile services. For example, unlike in Europe, buying and activating mobile services & devices in the US is nearly impossible without the assistance of an expert. And mobile technology itself is fragmented between GSM, LTE, and CDMA. In Europe, it’s also very common to bring your own devices—not so in the US.
Q: What do you consider your most important role with Xfinity Mobile?
A: My mission is to constantly challenge the norms of the U.S. customer experience at a relatively new wireless provider, which happens to live within one of the country’s largest providers of connectivity and entertainment services. I think it was only fitting that Comcast would bring someone from outside of the U.S. to reimagine the mobile product and customer experience. I choose to believe that my purpose is to break conventions or, as some would call them, the rules. So the first thing I did was assemble a team of rule-breakers.
At the end of the day, we have a choice: be part of consumer behavior change or be part of the status quo.
Q: Tell us about your team and what you mean by “rule-breakers”.
A: I wanted as many outsiders as possible. This is unconventional and may sound crazy, but we wanted to make sure that whomever we hired did not have wireless experience. That's one of the ways we tapped into innovation: forcing a team to reimagine every single step of the customer journey and life cycle without any common framework or reference. It is human nature to lean on what we know and use it for incremental change. Incremental change may lead to slightly better results, or no impact whatsoever, and that was not an option.
Q: Xfinity Mobile entered a very crowded and mature wireless market in the U.S. Can you talk a bit about what you’ve done to differentiate?
A: The answer to that question is simple -- by making the product the experience, and the experience the product. We crafted a value proposition that plays with three core proof points: network, experience and savings. Under the promise of a new kind of network designed to save you money, Xfinity mobile liberates consumers from complexity and the paradox of choice using By the Gig, unlimited or mix-and-match data options. It empowers customers to do more of what they love by connecting them not only through the largest LTE network but through 19 million WiFi hotspots, a switch that happens without users even knowing it (until they see just how little mobile data they’ve used but not paid for).
Q: What’s next for Xfinity Mobile?
A: We recently passed 1.4 million customers, and though we’re just over 2 years old, the work has just begun. It might not seem like it from the outside, but we have tremendous freedom here. We have permission to fail, which is very refreshing for a company of this size. To borrow (and adapt) from another Web-themed super hero, with great connectivity comes great responsibility.
The responsibility and impact that every single one of us has on millions of people. I think our job is not really to explain network, bits and bytes, and specs and features, or to convince people to buy one phone or the other; our job is to enable the connection to what matters most to them regardless of the access technology.