Zain Technology Conference Focuses on Customer Experience and the Future of Telco

Posted: December 30th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Events, Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Zain Technology Conference Focuses on Customer Experience and the Future of Telco

Times are changing for the telecommunications industry. Different consumer habits, new mobile devices and increased competition from OTT players have all made companies rethink their revenue models. Services that used to play a big role in operators’ bottom line, like voice and SMS, have fallen to the wayside. Now, there’s a definite need to make up for those losses and more telcos are investing in technologies like predictive analytics.

At the recent Zain Technology Conference in Dubai, more than 600 participants gathered to discuss these trends and more. Hosted by Zain Group, which offers telco services in eight markets across the Middle East and Africa, the event was a massive success.

Panelists, thought leaders and executives got together to share insights and tips. More than anything, though, they discussed topics that were close to the theme of the event: “Innovating Zain’s customer experience.”

Comptel has always believed that telco needs to improve the customer experience to move forward, and this conference showed that we are far from alone with this line of thinking.

The Events List

Keynote presentations were delivered by Zain Group CEO Scott Gegenheimer and CTO Hisham Allam. Other presentations featured senior leaders from companies like Ericsson and Huawei. There were also more than 80 interactive sessions that discussed the future of the telco sector.

The theme of customer experience resonated throughout the sessions, speeches and impromptu meetings. Comptel’s session, “Engaging with Customers Through Data and Technology,” touched on these points as well. Vice President of Comptel’s Analytics Business Program, Jimmy Ruokolainen, explained how data and analytics can help create contextual, automated customer experiences that predict value segments, improve customer satisfaction and remove silos by unifying business and technology. Zain Kuwait has covered this topic before, as the company has been leveraging some of Comptel’s Social Links to improve customer experience through analytics.

The levels of competition today in the telco sector have made it imperative for every business to think about different ways that services can be distributed, marketed and, ultimately, delivered. This event, the third Zain Technology Conference, was bigger than either of the two before it. That shows promise for the future. It’s easy to tell that most communications service providers (CSPs) today are willing to broaden their horizons and experiment with new things to offer a better customer experience.

CEO Scott Gegenheimer summed it up well, saying:

“This has been our largest conference to date, and we are thrilled to see how much it has grown and how beneficial it is to our colleagues in the technology sector as well as to ourselves. With 63 technology providers taking the opportunity to present their latest technologies and solutions, I am confident that many valuable conversations were held over the three days, and that Zain Group’s view of its future is better understood by our suppliers and partners.”

Comptel’s Take


Comptel couldn’t agree more about emphasizing the intersection of technology and customer experience. Happy, loyal customers are going to be the most important business advantage for CSPs in the coming years, which is why Comptel invests so much into contextual intelligence for communications. Through innovative new ways in fulfillment, marketing and analytics, businesses will be able to meet customer needs in a way that personalises each interaction. In turn, customers will have positive impressions of the brand and will be far less likely to churn.

Going into 2014, it’s clear that customer experience is only going to increase in importance. But, judging from the attendance at Zain Technology Conference, CSPs will be more than prepared.


5 Mobile Trends for Telcos to Watch in 2014

Posted: November 27th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Around the World | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on 5 Mobile Trends for Telcos to Watch in 2014

The changes for the telco industry will continue into 2014.

It’s the time of year when businesses in every industry are starting to think about what lies ahead. For the telecommunications industry, the past few years have been rocked by change in both consumer habits and technology… and 2014 looks like it won’t be any different.

From debates about national regulations to the increasing influence of OTT providers on the mobile landscape, next year is sure to be a decisive one for many communications service providers. That’s why Comptel decided to take a look at some of the most important developments for telcos and put them together on one page.

Here are five mobile trends for telcos to watch in 2014:

Want to learn more about what’s on the minds of telecommunications providers? Download our full Comptel User Group APAC Survey findings about Big Data, fulfillment and more.
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A Telco Opportunity: In Taiwan, Mobile has Replaced TV as the Media of Choice

Posted: November 22nd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Around the World, Telecom Trends | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on A Telco Opportunity: In Taiwan, Mobile has Replaced TV as the Media of Choice

Most analysts agree that widespread 4G deployment is right around the corner in Taiwan. The nation has always been a prominent mobile player in the telecommunications market, especially with initiatives like the Mobile Taiwan program, which have emphasized wireless access for all Taiwanese citizens, whether they’re in New Taipei City or a village in the mountains.

According to 4G360, the region’s communications service providers (CSPs) are looking to enter the 4G market early next year. With the infrastructure in place, this could  open a world of new opportunities, especially considering the sheer amount of data being exchanged across networks in Taiwan already.

One new study from InMobi highlights this phenomenon in detail. The research shows that, on average, mobile users in Taiwan spend six hours consuming media each day. More than a quarter (27 percent) of that time is spent on a mobile device, making it the number two channel for media consumption after desktops and laptops and actually placing it ahead of television. And even when they are watching TV, 20 percent of Taiwanese users surveyed said they look at their mobile phones at the same time.

So what does this all mean for CSPs in Taiwan? Mostly, it shows that it’s time to look at their customer relationships in a whole new way.

An Exponential Experience

Recently, Digitimes asked the three largest CSPs in Taiwan, Chunghwa Telecom (CHT), Taiwan Mobile (TWM) and Far EasTone (FET), about their thoughts on the future – especially when it comes to 4G. The consensus was that competition would be stiff. When it comes to 4G, CSPs won’t just be battling for market share with traditional operators, there will be an intensifying contest between CSPs and OTT providers like Google, Facebook and the services available from the iTunes App Store.

“Unlike 3G, which is positioned mainly as an access [point] to the Internet, telecom operators have to think of 4G as a platform to provide various application services,” said FET President Yvonne Li. “In this respect, FET stresses establishment of close cooperation [and] relation[ships] with subscribers.”

She added that, in the competition against OTT providers, CSPs won’t win in the race to build the best product or technology. Instead, they should strive for superior subscriber relationships and retail channels.

Improving subscriber relationships means paying closer attention to what customers want and need from CSPs. As VP of Research Monica Zlotogorski recently wrote on Telesperience, that hasn’t historically been the strongest point for telecom operators.

FET has taken strides to improve the customer experience already, investing in technology that allows for more intelligent mediation, charging and fulfillment.

More Media, More Problems

The revelations about Taiwanese mobile media usage should strike a chord among CSPs. Usually, telcos are seen as obstacles to getting the media the user wants – whether the connection is slow, there’s a limit on a data plan, or Wi-Fi is hard to find.

A lot of this has started to change within the past few years because of Big Data analytics tools, which can segment customers by mobile usage and allow CSPs to customise different marketing offers and networks accordingly. As 4G becomes widespread and media becomes even more accessible than before, optimising the customer experience will be a crucial strategy for telcos that are looking to stay ahead of OTT providers. By becoming a strategic and intelligent service enabler, CSPs can become an active and integral proponent of a customers’ needs, making sure the journey is as smooth as possible, from start to finish.


To Reverse Declining Revenues, the Telco Industry Has to Think Outside the Box

Posted: August 5th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Telecom Trends | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

A new report from independent global analyst firm Ovum showed that the telco industry may be experiencing declining revenues for the near future. Most of the decline will occur among telcos with significant exposure to Europe and other mature economies. The only significant growth is taking place within emerging markets, particularly China.

The findings come from a review of full-year KPIs of 23 of the world’s largest telcos, and the analyst firm expects revenues to slow down until at least 2018.

Ovum’s review may or may not come as a surprise to communications service providers (CSPs), which have already been in a constant dance to adapt to the latest technology and the latest competition. While Ovum’s findings seem grim, they should be embraced as an incentive to modernise and innovate their service offerings and customer focus.

The telco industry can look at two things in particular: finding the equilibrium that balances OTT contribution with their business models, and leveraging core competencies and rich data to operationally transform into a “customer company.”

1. Treat OTT players like inspiration, not competition.

The loss of revenues telcos are experiencing is, more often than not, blamed on OTT players. There’s no doubt that services like Apple, Google, Skype and WhatsApp are draining business from the industry, but that doesn’t mean that the answer is to aggressively defend market positions, or turn the other way and pretend they don’t exist.

Ovum’s telco operations analyst and report author Adaora Okeleke suggests using them as inspiration. “Telcos could feasibly play a role as service enablers, but they first need to adopt the leaner structures of OTT players such as Google,” she said in a statement. “By partnering with application developers and allowing them to use their secure platforms for service delivery, telcos will be able to drive innovation and reduce time-to-market.”

As my colleague, Steve Hateley, recently wrote, another option is to try new pricing structures that OTT players can’t give to customers. Some CSPs are experimenting with unlimited bundles, as opposed to reversed, limited bundles. There are also potential strategic alliances that could be built between CSPs and OTT providers that benefit everybody. After all, OTT players still depend on the network infrastructure that CSPs provide.

2. Create more efficient operations.

By invoking the “leaner structures” of Google, Okeleke acknowledges that there are inefficiencies in the current telco business model. But it doesn’t take too much digging to discover that this is a common sentiment.

As an example, many CSPs have more than one mediation and / or provisioning platform, which can end up producing redundancies and slow, error-filled service roll-outs. OSS consolidation may seem intimidating, but the rewards are worth it – by consolidating five systems into a single Comptel Convergent Mediation platform, for example, one CSP recently reduced operational costs by up to 30 percent.

Additionally, having a central solution for their increasing amount of network, service and other data allows CSPs to more effectively apply contextual intelligence to overcome their business challenges associated with better customer understanding.

The Future of Telco

There’s no doubt that things in the telecommunications industry are getting shaken up, but new technologies can offer a host of opportunities for CSPs just as old revenue and business models continue to decline. Comptel is working hard to provide those solutions to the telco industry, and we’re excited for the future, because those solutions mean a better experience for customers and better operations for CSPs.


Around the World

Posted: July 18th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Around the World | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Around the World

Around the WorldBilling & OSS World
Operators Exaggerate the OTT Threat

Ovum recently released a report further highlighting the need for telcos to innovate in order to negate the threat of Over-the-Top (OTT) providers. After evaluating more than 3,500 new service launches since 2009, the global analyst firm concluded it’s fine to compete with OTT providers, but that the real trick may be to collaborate more. The analysts examined the approaches taken by companies such as Google and Apple to establish themselves in the app ecosystem, and noted the lackluster success of CSPs should really come as no surprise. Simply put: telcos were too selective when choosing partners and overburdened their prospective allies with unrealistic revenue expectations.

The report goes on to recommend using partnerships to scout for new ideas, indicating the importance of prioritising innovations that exploit the centrality of operators’ networks. Similar to the approach recently suggested by our own Steve Hateley, Ovum suggests telcos use the notion of “net innovation benefit” – comprised of “net new revenues,” “net cost savings” and “net non-monetary benefits” – to measure the success of their innovation activities.

CommsMEA
Telcos Ignore Big Data at Their Peril

Big data should not be ignored, and telco operators that choose to give it the cold shoulder are doing so at their own risk, is additional advice Ovum is touting. The research firm asserts operators can benefit from big data analytics in numerous ways, including predicting and reducing churn, promoting loyalty, upselling and cross-selling offers, and personalising services.

However, telcos are running into some red tape due to a lack of necessary data management and analytical skills in-house. Ovum cites the high demand and low supply of data scientists as the main reason for the lingering big data inefficiencies, noting this makes the analytics area ripe for vendor support.

In fact, telcos are generally turning to one of four sources for their big data analytics needs:

  1. Their existing BSS/OSS providers
  2. Trusted IT vendors
  3. Telco analytics specialists
  4. Incumbent network equipment providers

Ovum suggests telcos take a page from the playbook of OTT providers, and become more data-centric, leaner and more agile. Once this issue has been resolved, the firm says, telcos will be able to effectively monetise the increased volume, variety, velocity and value of the network, subscriber and other data that they collect.

Comptel’s Matti Aksela recently asked if big data is actually relevant for telcos’ business strategies, and according to Ovum, the answer is yes.

Telecoms.com
LTE: Strong Starter

LTE is for everyone, or at least it will be eventually. According to third quarter 2013 data from Informa’s WCIS Plus, the global LTE subscriptions are at 88.48 million, comprising 1.35 percent of the overall cellular market. By year’s end, it is predicted to be the fifth largest network technology behind GSM, WCDMA, CDMA and TD-SCDMA.

Informa believes that the debates surrounding LTE are more about routes than destinations, however, and stress that operators’ choice of paths will go a long way to determining their success. This also holds true for how LTE is launched into the market in the first place, and the traditional mass marketing approach may not be the best option. Learn more about why not here.


Can Building Partnerships with OTT Players Actually Improve Telco Revenues?

Posted: July 4th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments »

Voice and SMS revenues are declining dramatically for communications service providers (CSP). Telco 2.0 expects SMS revenues in Europe and the Middle East to drop 40 percent by 2015, while Strategy Analytics predicts that CSPs around the world will lose about $3 billion in revenue between 2012 and 2017.

And where’s all the money going? To over-the-top (OTT) providers that offer consumers third-party ways of messaging. Apple, Facebook, Skype and WhatsApp are just some of the players in the space. OTT messaging just keeps getting more popular, too. By the end of 2013, Informa Telecoms & Media estimates that OTT messages will be double the number of peer-to-peer SMS messages.

Neutralising the Threat

One trend that has seen some adoption has been the shift to reversed, limited to unlimited bundles. International telco efficiency specialist, tefficient recognized that between 2010 and 2012 as data demand showed significant growth, the OTT monetization opportunity had increased.

At the same time, operators started to reverse their mobile bundle offerings in terms of voice and data. The studyrevealed that instead of packaging limited voice minutes and SMS with unlimited data, operators increasingly limited the amount of inclusive data while making voice and SMS unlimited. Of course this has the effect to neutralise the OTT threat and supporting the opportunity for operators and OTT’s to partner.

CSPs remain understandably worried about this new competition, but most aren’t sure how they can solve the problem. Yet one Australian operator, Telstra Global, has a solution: improve the customer experience and bundle services.

Competing Directly with OTT Services

A good number of CSPs have been trying to quietly ignore OTT providers, because they’re not quite sure where to start when it comes to developing a competing solution. Telstra Global has discovered that it’s just a matter of building the right service packages and the right partnerships.

Martijn Blanken, managing director, told Total Telecom that there is “a way to beat” OTT services like WhatsApp, and it comes down to packaging things differently. That’s how Telstra Global has been able to protect SMS revenues as the technology evolves. Blanken noted, too, that OTT providers need the connectivity and network power that CSPs can offer, which can pave the way for strategic alliances that can benefit everyone.

More than anything, however, Blanken emphasised customer service. “The true differentiation will be the customer experience,” he told the news outlet, and everyone from every department will have to be involved.

Packaging Services in a Way that Works

We’ve long believed the same thing – these days, customers are looking for the best possible experience from their CSPs. Research from Vanson Bourne shows that nine out of ten consumers want more personalised interactions with their mobile operators. The advantage that traditional mobile operators have over OTT services is that they know their customers already. It’s just a matter of leveraging big data analytics to create an individual experience for each customer.

If CSPs could use technology like predictive analytics to anticipate mobile habits, then it would be possible to create unique service packages that are superior to OTT models. Automatically sending a customer a relevant solution delivers a great experience that he or she is very likely to remember. As personalisation becomes the norm for customer service, big data analytics will allow CSPs to create new revenue streams and, best of all, work with OTT services to deliver next-generation customer experiences.


Policy Control and Data Pricing Conference 2013: Policy Decisions, Revenue, and Marketing’s Changing Responsibilities

Posted: April 25th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Events, Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Policy Control and Data Pricing Conference 2013: Policy Decisions, Revenue, and Marketing’s Changing Responsibilities

At the Policy Control and Data Pricing Conference 2013 last week, I attended an interesting panel discussion that spoke about how marketing’s role was evolving when it came to policy and charging decisions. One of the most important takeaways was that marketing is going to have to get more involved in policy control and charging acquisition decisions, which has largely been the territory of telecom and IT departments.

That’s because, these days, CSPs are not seeing policy as an independent function. Instead, the focus is more on generating money with policy and charging tools.

The reason that marketing’s input is getting crucial is that, with revenues from voice and text on the decline, communications service providers (CSPs) have to create strategic, adaptive and sticky policies and charging bundles to monetise data. Cooperation with OTTs is becoming more important, because businesses need to develop flexible, joint offering models that can be adjusted for an increase in the revenue from data and cover the investment costs of ever-growing data networks.

Marketing is interested in developing an environment which makes it easy to offer targeted policy and charging bundles to customers, which is difficult to implement without the help of predictive analytics that can determine individual usage patterns and behaviour.

Combining Policy with Monetisation

Most CSPs today treat policy and charging as separate from strategic monetisation campaigns, but that’s changing. The panel showed that many businesses are thinking about policy and charging as a way to create a holistic approach to providing customers with the most relevant services. As data becomes the dominant force of monetisation, CSPs will have to transform policy control from static to dynamic and from reactive to proactive… and this is where marketing comes in.

Traditionally, policy decisions were predominantly made by telecom and IT departments, but as more emphasis is placed on analytics and ROI, marketing will have to be integrated into the mix. Now it’s time to analyse the information more thoroughly, and look beyond data usage per customer into what kind of data is used, by whom, at what times, and through which context, and make sophisticated predictions about the potential change of data usage or risk of churn. All in all, policy and charging models are going to become more complex, which in turn requires accurate network planning, end-to-end design and implementation capability.

Marketing will have to work with IT and telecom to target policy and charging models at a much more granular level. Each customer will have to be offered a policy and charging based on current and predicted behavior and data usage trends. Analytics tools will be the key to not just determining existing trends, but planning for new ones and responding to them in real-time or near-realtime, depending on each use case’s requirement.

The Paradox: Real-Time Policy and Real-Life Turnaround

As the panel explained, the problem right now is that the creation and management of policy control is not flexible or efficient enough. Often, policy models touch many parts of the organization, so decisions have to get approved by multiple departments and multiple levels of management before going into action. In these cases, CSPs risk losing serious revenue opportunities by not responding to customer needs quickly enough.

So, how can CSPs find efficient tools and simplify the process so that these new, innovative services will reach the audience fast enough?

Real-time analytics require real-time turnaround, but right now there are a lot of requirements for any policy change. It can take up to six months or more to deploy new policies, which inhibits the growth of the flexible environment needed to improve the deployment cycle in the first place.

The panel concluded by saying that there is a need to discover a way to simplify the process involved in policy creation. At Comptel, we’ve worked hard to provide some of those tools, with our analytics-driven mediation, policy control and charging platform. The answer to simplifying policy control and charging may be found in the new tools for CSPs that are available, which can better help marketing, IT, and telecom all come together to build business growth.


Mobile World Congress 2013: Live from Barcelona!

Posted: February 26th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Events, Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Comptel booth_6C30The excitement was (and still is) palpable here in Barcelona, as Mobile World Congress kicked into full gear yesterday. The keynote sessions on day one did not disappoint, with four of the largest mobile operators across the globe outlining their business strategies over the past year and looking ahead to 2017 and beyond. First up was chairman of the GSMA and CEO of Telecom Italia Group, Franco Bernabè, who stated that spectrum, privacy and investments must be the key focus for mobile operators moving forward.

Sixty-two million wireless connections are already using LTE, and this number is expected to grow to 920 million by 2017. Spectrum, then, is clearly a priority. However, as Bernabè explained, it’s critical to do more than simply having the right amount of spectrum—mobile operators must ensure that it is also harmonised across the world, in turn, making mobile services more affordable for consumers.

Privacy is another element for operators to consider, as mobile phones are carrying an increasing amount of personal information. With $350 billion compromised this year due to security risks, there is a clear place for mobile operators to become central in secure identity and access management.

Finally, Bernabè urged, operators must find a balance between competition, innovation and investment. Investments will depend on three factors: economics of scale, foreseeable business environments and up-to-date regulatory frameworks. He continued saying that operators must remain committed to Near Field Communications (NFC), LTE and voice over LTE (VoLTE) to create economically viable competition, especially in regions where excess competition is depressing the markets.

Following the opening remarks, GSMA’s director general, Anne Bouverot, moderated a discussion on the challenges and opportunities for mobile operators. AT&T’s president and CEO, Randall Stephenson, believes that we’re moving from a period of wireless experience on mobile devices to one where connectivity is always assumed and new services, like home security and mobile wallets, can be layered on top.

Next, China Mobile’s chairman, Xi Guohua, added that operators should be more concerned about OTT competition, which can erode the value of services. He suggests consolidating industry resources, like networks and devices, to gain a competitive advantage in the value chain. Additionally, Xi believes there is an opportunity with LTE to strengthen collaboration among the Internet of things, such as M2M, which will increase dialogue and align interests for the world’s operators.

Adding to this, Telefonica’s executive chairman and CEO, César Aliert, stated that operators need to lead the ecosystems into a healthy future by implementing new commercial models to better serve customers and change market dynamics. This includes breaking the taboos associated with network rollout and providing the best experience possible to customers.

Then, Vodafone’s CEO Vittorio Colao dove into how his group of operators is transforming in this digital revolution. Interestingly, he noted that more than a quarter of mobile users check their phones at the dinner table, and 66 percent sleep with their phones. Life is clearly mobile, and this is only going to increase. Because of this, Colao stated that operators need to enrich the customer experience with other services. Winners will be those who have the best products and lowest prices and are most willing to compromise and put in the work.

So far, the keynotes have been exciting to listen to, and the show floor has been packed! We’re looking forward to attending more sessions and meeting our customers, partners and other across the industry to share ideas about our changing telco landscape. In the meantime, stop by our booth in Hall 6, stand 6C30!


Management World Americas: What can CSPs do as customer touch points increase?

Posted: December 6th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Management World Americas: What can CSPs do as customer touch points increase?

Management World Americas 2012 is coming to a close, and as I looked at the beautiful sunrise this morning (which you can see in this picture), I was reflecting on our time here and all of the stimulating conversations and topics that are so relevant to our industry.

In particular, we recently discussed putting the customer first – a key theme in the customer experience management (CEM) sessions — and I’d like to expand on that a bit. In thinking about CEM, another trend we’ve seen come up here is that customer touch points are rapidly increasing, with ever more players having a role in the customer experience. As new devices emerge, over the top (OTT) services are introduced, and data usage continues to surge, this should come as no surprise. In fact, I found it interesting that even when it comes to contacting communications service providers (CSPs) directly, customers generally use multiple methods such as web, phone, email and SMS.

What all these various touch points and subsequent players mean for CSPs, though, is that it’s challenging to control the customer experience end-to-end. To help mitigate this, it’s essential to take advantage of the data at hand by collecting and analysing customer information. Doing so will provide a clear picture of who the customer is and allow for more personilised interactions at each touch point. As Ulla mentioned, this was something that was very prominent during the Equinix case study session where the company collected data and mapped the entire customer lifecycle for a complete view of customer activities and preferences.

In order to really make this strategy successful, a holistic approach to customer experience is needed, with both the marketing, IT and telecom teams aligned in their goals. Automated processes is an asset in bringing these worlds together – simultaneously looking at what’s happening in the network and coinciding customer activities. Where these two elements meet is where automated processes play a key role – enabling CSPs to see exactly what the customer is doing, understand the context, and automate an appropriate, personalised response. Strengthening this with machine learning means that CSPs can track customers’ behavioural patterns dynamically and automatically adapt to those as they change throughout a customer’s lifecycle.

Of course, I’d like to emphasise that this should be used in combination with personal, human interactions. Treating customers this way, with a human touch and by providing unique communications based on their preferences, is key  to differentiating in an ever crowded market. And with automation helping this, CSPs can make many more targeted offers at the right time – a crucial factor to enabling a positive customer experience as touch points continue to expand.


‘More Policy is needed!’

Posted: November 22nd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Telecom Trends | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

As continuation to my colleague Simo’s blog on “Now I Understand What You Mean with Contextual Intelligence in Policy Control and Charging” , I would like to share some congress highlights on the major discussion points and development trends in the market.

Maintaining the current network investment pace is becoming impossible, and therefore CSPs are actively seeking ways to capitalize on data services and co-operate with OTT players to diverge the data revenue growth curve and offload mobile data onto their own or partner’s WiFi networks. It’s obvious that video drives broadband traffic. Therefore CSPs absolutely need to understand customers’ usage patterns, how they behave in the network and what their value for the CSP, to implement efficient segmentation tools that allow prioritising the customers who need more bandwidth.

There was also a lively discussion about the tactics of creating and offering data services, touching on topics like rapid and easy service creation, data and bandwidth bundles, add-on data packages, personalisation and quality of experience. These elements are at the center of the CSP’s radar screen, contributing heavily to revenue generation and monetisation. The life time span of data packages will diminish significantly, as customers expect a broad, personalised and frequently updated service portfolio to be available. In order to fulfill this requirement, analytics capabilities have found their way into the heart of the policy control and charging offering palette, providing customer insights, predictive capabilities, churn management tools and automated marketing campaigns executed contextually at the right time to the right customers.

The ubiquitously available policy control capabilities and tools were widely recognised as the mainstream future trend, going beyond the pure network-centric approach to devices, cloud, M2M, service delivery and OTT. In short, Policy is needed everywhere in the ecosystem. The implementation is very much business-objective and use case driven, dictated by the business and service requirements and the CSP’s existing network architecture. Depending on the CSP’s set-up, the implementation scope can be fulfilled based on policy control, charging, customer management and analytics functions. Policy control is needed to protect and serve your interests.