With the advent of 2019, Telecom companies are feeling extensive pressure to make technology investments in 5G and focus on devising superior business models to capitalize on the latest telecom opportunities. Once tested and accessible, the 5G technology promises to create significant revenue-generating opportunities in the fixed broadband and business-to-business arenas including smart cities, connected home, and Internet of Things (IoT).
However, the bigger challenge waiting for Telecom businesses is to realign business and revenue models to support a host of advanced services while streamlining business processes to handle increased workloads. Here we discuss some trends that are anticipated to shape the telecom business in 2019.
1. Integration with Cloud: Telecommunication companies are expected to leverage the scale and agility of the cloud to virtualize networks, introduce innovation, and embrace IoT opportunities. This includes investing in cloud platforms to deliver new digital services including OTT content, SaaS applications, and cloud-based unified communication services.
As telecom companies strive to manage and automate their omnichannel interactions with customers and exploit big data to tap into additional revenue opportunities, we surely expect to see cloud platforms become increasingly embedded in business processes.
2. The 5G concept: The potential offered by 5G and IoT technologies is expected to capture major areas like energy, agriculture, transport, healthcare and manufacturing. As 5G takes prominence, telecom companies will be pushed to partner with other providers to seize new market opportunities like smart city technologies, predictive maintenance, data collection and analytics, blockchain and the like.
The arrival of 5G is sure to bring in a sea of opportunities ranging from machine-to-machine services and autonomous vehicles to remote healthcare and innovative video delivery services. To ring in profits from these opportunities, telecom companies will need to make concerted efforts to create technologically viable, go-to-market models that capture 5G-IoT business potential.
3. Ecosystem value creation: To benefit from the 5G era, telcos will also be required to seamlessly collaborate an ecosystem of independent partners who together build value to the business. Operators will have to focus on their decision making and management systems to generate robust revenue sharing models along with constructing complex integration capabilities and ensuring the secure exchange of data. Furthermore, they will be required to build elaborate virtual monetization schemas to enable automated service delivery and become adept at handling complicated and extended customer value chains.
4. Focus on Individual Margins: Revenue growth is no longer the criteria for the formation of business plans. There is a rise in business models based on IMPU (individual margin per user) rather than ARPU (average revenue per user).
This trend is gaining prominence as more and more telecom operators initiate digital service portfolios where direct costs and performance are monitored closely to maintain profitability. To evaluate and ensure an appropriate margin, telecommunication companies are using analytics and machine learning to gain insights into product, asset, and customer profitability.
5. Privacy and digital identity: Privacy and identity theft are a critical issue for providers in 2019 since data security is directly linked with customer satisfaction. A telecom company’s ability to offer greater visibility and regulation of personal data is an increasingly important factor in their progress.
As we move towards eSIM technologies in IoT and mobile connectivity, telco operators can gain from understanding their digital customer management capabilities. This also points to understanding the growing relevance of blockchain technology in the near future.
6. Blockchain Technology: Blockchain is all set to impact all core management systems and services, providing ample area for efficiency gains and revenue growth through new value propositions. Telco operators are looking to implement blockchain for data and value exchange to minimize fraud, and devise new revenue-generating eSIM ‘identity-as-a-service’ type services.
Blockchain combined with eSIM provisioning is expected to prove super effective in setting up new revenue streams, service efficiencies, and exceptional customer experiences. It also promises to provide interoperability between internal and external systems, while increasing transparency and form effective operational processes.
7. Increasing Industry Convergence: In the rapidly changing environment, telecom companies are leading rapid innovations in the field of fintech, mobile payments, location-based data services, and more. We can also expect to see more telecommunication companies grasp the financial services sector and trigger new alliances to facilitate real-time payments for individuals and enterprises.
Telcos are also progressively involved in previously unexplored sectors like media, health, and smart automation by using their diverse portfolio of assets that include everything from secure IT infrastructure, impressive CRM and billing to data analytics platforms.
8. New digital rules for customer engagement: With agility and comfort taking priority in customer satisfaction, telecom providers need to prepare for digital-first customer service and engagement. Year by year, self-service seeks to surpass human support and a growing number of customers are employing methods to grow self-sufficient in business and other areas. This means we need to prepare for more live chat options and co-browsing supporting customers during their search and purchase.
To improve their automated functions, providers need to blend their automated and assisted services while ensuring that information related to an automated interaction is not lost during the transfer to a human agent.
9. Revolutionizing field service: Telco operators are making use of gig economy and ‘crowd service’ to create a vast service arena to be able to respond to customer service requests faster and at a much lower price. This is more viable in an era where the delivery of flexible and fast on-site customer support is a growing necessity.
10. Artificial Intelligence Utilization: The use of AI is no longer restricted to chatbots and virtual assistants. We are nearing a time when telecom companies will increasingly use AI to assist intelligent search and solution recommendations, automated ticket filtering, smart “call routing”, optimized field service resources and other such areas. We might also see the deployment of robotic process automation for complex case management and streamlining of repetitive service process workflows.