Throughout last year, the rollout of LTE was a major focus for communications service providers (CSPs), with over 300 LTE networks now in operation globally. But superfast data speeds and data hungry consumers have brought their share of challenges for CSPs and simply offering fast data access is not enough.
As data usage increases on their networks, CSPs are trying to figure out a way to monetise their data assets, and provide a quality-rich, personalised experience for customers accessing their services. The industry has come to the realisation that an evolution of traditional telecoms networks and business models is required to stay ahead of the curve.
As more CSPs continue to optimise their networks and business operations for LTE, here are some of the trends that we can look forward to seeing this year.
The DSP trend will gain strong momentum
Rolling out LTE is simply the first stage of delivering on the promise of a fully digital mobile experience. In order to capitalise on their LTE investments, CSPs will be plotting a path towards becoming Digital Service Providers (DSPs). These businesses will focus on delivering personalised customer services, migrating customer interactions online, and providing advanced self-care through digital channels.
This year, the concept of the DSP will move beyond a few early adopters to become more mainstream. More CSPs will take the lead from successful brands like Telstra, which is constantly engaging with its customers and adding value to evolve their digital lifestyles.
Non-CSPs will start retailing data connectivity
Through 2015, we can expect to see successful partnerships between non-telecoms brands and CSPs, as more businesses look to launch data services alongside their traditional offerings. Think travel companies offering roaming deals as part of holiday packages, for example.
This new marketplace will be enabled by CSPs modernising their enabling systems and moving to a real-time environment. In undertaking this transition, they can launch new propositions with their 'digital partners' through an application programming interface (API) model. We will likely start seeing 'mash-up' data models emerging that have become commonplace in online retailing and other industries.
MVNOs setting the pace on data innovation
2015 will be the year of the digital MVNO as these providers evolve from predominantly offering voice services, to becoming data-centric innovators.
Traditionally, MVNOs have differentiated their offerings through exclusive content, or basement level pricing. However, these strategies will continue to evolve to service a more sophisticated customer base that demands data services. MVNOs will begin to realign their business strategies to meet increasing demand from consumers for control over their mobile experience.
They can achieve this by profiling different customer groups, and offering appropriate brand-based and OTT services based on subscriber behaviour. Other interesting innovations may include cross-border connectivity for enterprises, and data roaming solutions for consumers and enterprise customers.
A real-time experience for enterprise customers
Consumers have been the first to benefit from the enhanced experience delivered through real-time enabling systems on LTE networks: increased visibility, personalised usage controls, shared balances and instant top-up of data balances.
This year, we'll see the launch of new enterprise propositions, with sophisticated self-management tools and a new channel for upselling additional services based on real-time business demands.
We are now living in an LTE world and CSPs have to implement new strategies to intelligently monetise the increased data usage on their networks. 2015 will see the subscriber experience transform, as CSPs roll out exciting new pricing plans and value-added services, personalised towards individual user behaviour.
- Jennifer Kyriakakis is Founder and VP Marketing at MATRIXX Software