Just a few short years, ago phone booths were scattered around the cities. We were accustomed to keeping spare change simply for the sake of placing a call. Then, suddenly everything changed. The introduction of prepaid phone cards took over and the need for coins slowly diminished but still, the pay phones remained with the same simple functionality—talking. The few major telephone companies were able to bill in advance thanks to the phone card credit. But, soon after, the late 90s brought about a massive disruption—the mobile phone for everyone—and the updates didn’t stop there. All this change meant the telecom companies desperately needed an infrastructure update.
In order to evolve and capitalize on new growth opportunities and become fully digital service providers, telecom companies need to address new challenges. This means bridging the gap of physical and digital strands of operations in order to maintain and build brand reputation. Customer-centric strategies, self-service, and AI are all also necessary in order to deliver a higher standard of customer satisfaction and reduce churn in a highly competitive market. With an estimated total economic value of $3.7 trillion by 2020, the telecommunication sector has significant potential that should be harnessed. The increase in video mobile traffic and the expectation to deliver streaming content to any screen is putting more and more pressure on existing telecom infrastructure, turning attention to networking technologies including the transformative potential of software defined networking (SDN).
This greater convergence between the physical and digital data usage has presented opportunities and challenges which demand rethinking partner models and current eco-systems. Some telecom operators have begun opening up their network by offering their services through APIs for partners developing new products or services—creating new business opportunities simply by leveraging someone else’s infrastructure. In order to handle traffic spikes during special events cloud capabilities have become key. This eliminates the need for a massive and expensive, but mostly unused, infrastructure. Another shift in the ecosystems involves utilizing the millions of terabytes of digital information flowing daily, all helpful in understanding and segmenting customers. Some operators have started to capitalize on the value from big data by using data analytics applications to gain insights to their digital user with AI and machine learning algorithms.
With the more complete picture made possible through these infrastructure updates, driving innovation and maintaining a competitive edge means taking advantage of even the smallest and shortest opportunities such as up-selling, cross-selling, and identifying the risk of customer defection.
With all this change, telecom companies might feel that they can finally catch a breath, but quite the opposite is true. Live profiling of customer behavior, internal and external fraud detection, resaleable analytics data, real-time personalization, closed loop service monitoring, and opening up the network infrastructure through APIs all allow third parties to create new services and powerful propositions to build future offerings in a tough environment. It’s coming next for telecom companies and the time to act is now.