It used to be that writing a predictions piece was a bit the same as last year, but a bit more advanced. There were only so many ways to make basic telephony services exciting. But in the last couple of years everything has changed. This on-going change was highlighted by the $85bn AT&T / Time Warner deal announced in October 2016. This was a public sign of where the telco industry is going in 2017. Content is most definitely king. But just having access to content isn’t going to be enough. Any content strategy needs to be built on the foundation of customer centricity – which needs to be enabled by automated and real-time systems. The deal also highlighted how quickly telcos are changing. So, with this in mind, here’s six telecoms/ digital services predictions for 2017.
#1: MEGA DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION PROJECTS WILL DIE
In 2016 we seen a few press releases about billion dollar, 5 year digital transformation projects. In the last 2 years we’re seen many telcos transform themselves into entertainment companies. We’ve seen service providers who will sell everything from taxi services to home security to healthcare. How can anyone plan a BSS project for longer than 2 years out? By the time the project is complete it will be out of date. Service providers are on a digital journey – on a road with many unforeseen twists and turns. As such they need many smaller projects, with a much quicker time to value. The days of a mega-vendor locking in a service provider to a 5 year project that is dictated by the vendor’s release strategy are a thing of the past.
#2: CONTENT AND EXPERIENCE ARE THE NEW DIFFERENTIATORS
It used to be the network was the main differentiator. Not anymore. The network is an enabler – one which customers expect to work. Securing rights to content (movies, sports, TV shows) and offering these (as many multi-play operators are doing) will be a main differentiator to attract new customers. Keeping these customers will be about delivering a personalized experience – across all channels, for all services. This will prove interesting for many service providers as they look to get a single view of the customer, in real-time, for all services used and using that to drive package upgrades.
#3: DIFFERENTIATING CONTENT USING BSS
Recently AT&T announced that their DirectTV NOW service to mobiles would be zero rated. This is the most obvious method of using charging capabilities to make one content service more attractive and thus increase usage. I think we’ll see more creative pricing when it comes to delivering content in 2017. These could include bundling of personalized content (e.g. football matches) for loyalty offers, sharing content (e.g. in a household) and even personalized advertising subsidising content charges.
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