By Kevin McGuire, SVP Product

You may have heard us say that we “make the smartphone smarter”. That’s because content discovery on smartphones is stunted, and the way to fix it is to change how the device works. Device-centric discovery (DCD) solutions do just that. DCD solutions, like our Firstly Mobile Platform are designed to help users find and enjoy content without opening any apps.

This four-part blog series is designed to help you understand what DCD is, why it matters, why consumers love it, and what it means for the wireless industry.

 In our first part, we covered the basics – defining DCD, giving examples of existing DCD solutions, and revealing the market leaders.

 In our second part, we discussed why DCD is a growing trend.

 In our third part, we explained how consumers get DCD and how it has impacted mobile behavior.

 In our fourth and final part, we will discuss DCD from the carrier angle – describing the many ways that DCD can be used to support key strategic goals, and aspirations, of top carriers.


In part 3 of this blog series, we explained how subscribers have already embraced the industry-changing trend of DCD. For users, DCD brings a range of device or O/S enhancements that make it easier to find news/sports/entertainment/games without having to wade through multiple apps. But carriers also can use DCD to support key business goals:

  • Boost ARPU and Revenue – For carriers looking to add to their bottom line, DCD can be a turnkey revenue model. Carriers turn to DCD providers to handle the overall management, content sourcing, and ad monetization, a carrier in turn receives incremental revenue from a share of the mobile ad revenue generated by the DCD provider. These incremental revenues come with no OPEX or capital investment, meaning that DCD’s turnkey revenues are pure profit, representing as much bottom line impact as the equivalent of an incremental $2 ARPU per month.
  • Create Inventory for Carrier’s Ad Service – For carriers looking to build and monetize mobile ad inventory, DCD provides significant opportunity. Carrier’s can work with the DCD provider to integrate their own ad tags, allowing the carriers to build a strong monthly mobile ad revenue stream.
  • Grow Brand Loyalty – Frictionless technology has paved the way for subscribers to have low-touch access to the things they want, need, and desire. Consider how easy it has become to hail a “cab” on Uber, shop on Amazon, order food through Grubhub, or find a date on Tinder. Carriers can bring that same simplicity of access to content through DCD – giving consumers one-touch access on unlock, with a swipe, or a tap on a new browser. With this level of engagement, they can use DCD to promote their own campaigns and services to subscribers, helping to put their brand front and center to customers. We’ll go further in depth later in specifically how they can do this with their 5G rollouts
  • Leverage Content Investment – Many carriers are looking for a better ROI on large sums invested in media assets. DCD provides them what they previously lacked to get those assets in front of subscribers – a discovery engine. No matter how great any content is, the value of it is still dependent on getting eyeballs. The gains in viewership attributable to DCD was recently quantified by the publisher UPI. After their content was sourced as the news provider in one DCD solution, they witnessed massive gains in reach and engagement:
    • Double the mobile CPMs
    • 86% increase in click-through rate
    • 30 second increase in average time spent
    • 26% decrease in bounce rate
  • Increase Subscriber Interest In Streaming Media Investments – Carriers have been investing heavily in building streaming media and cable portfolios that subscribers want. DCD solutions can act as a “guide” or “concierge” to their streaming media offerings by providing recommendations, peer reviews, and other suggestions throughout the day to the user.


In some cases, DCD solutions like Apple News and Samsung Bixby are pre-packed on OEM’s phones. However, in other cases, carriers form a partnership with a DCD provider to distribute the solution on carrier phones. In these cases, there are usually four key aspects of provisioning the solution that the DCD provider will help the carrier with:

  1. Day-to-Day Management: Managing the overall business and technology
  2. Media Content Sourcing: The sources and types of content used
  3. Ad Operations: Ad monetization and how it is handled
  4. Integration of Carrier Owned Content: Inclusion of carrier-owned content and brand campaigns into the solution


In 2017, we quantified the opportunity of appearing “first” for users on smartphones as a multi-billion dollar opportunity for carriers. Our First Dibs research included quantifying how often they open their phones without an app in mind (later named the “Appnostic” trend discussed in parts 2 and 3 of this series), and how consumers preferred solutions that provided first screen engagement. The value of the opportunity was established to be up to 5% of all mobile advertising revenue, placing it third behind Google and Facebook.

Since then, however, different DCD solutions have emerged, putting new subscriber content experiences throughout the phone and not just on the first screen. The success of these solutions prove that our initial quantification, while already lofty, is just the tip of the iceberg. The overall impact of DCD goes well beyond our First Dibs research when you consider how it allows carriers to maximize ROI on their streaming video, cross-promotions, and other content investments. Consider that, it’s easy to imagine leading DCD innovators to be considered among the biggest brand names in mobile media.


Along with 5G rollouts, new services will become available where speed to market and adoption rate will be critical. Carriers can use DCD solutions to create a marketing engine to smartly promote their 5G network and services. In the pre-5G world, people already own smartphones that supply them with a myriad of choices. With the faster loading and faster streaming world of 5G coming, consumers are undoubtedly going to be faced with the problem of “choice overload” – which means the winners are going to be determined by who can get their content in front of subscriber’s eyes first. That’s where DCD can help:

  • Promote 5G Services: While 4G users who live in areas that offer 5G service are getting their news or social updates, DCD can offer integrate content that raises awareness and interest in upcoming 5G services (which boosts adoption and loyalty). they can also be shown messages relating to services available to them, including 5G promotions.
  • Provide Fast Discovery of New 5G Innovations: Early adopters of 5G devices will crave new experiences promised. With DCD, these 5G users can unlock their phones and access 5G-specific experiences, including VR- or AR-enabled content, apps and services available only on (or enhanced by) 5G.
  • Create a 5G Promotional Strategy: Carriers can build campaigns for users with 5G-capable phones who don’t live in areas with 5G service or 4G users who will soon have access to a 5G network by naturally integrating them into their current content experiences.


Device-Centric Discovery is fundamentally changing how people use phones. DCD leaders have built solutions already being embraced by subscribers everywhere, but there is still a large opportunity available to carriers to innovate DCD. Carriers have a wealth of 2020 goals they are looking to accomplish and DCD can be central to all of them, while giving the added bonus of pleasing their subscribers. It’s time for carriers to partner with a DCD provider and bring this mission critical technology to their phones in 2020.