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5G’s North Star – Partner Monetisation

January 18, 2022 - Frank Healy

Partner monetisation with improved telco partner ecosystems will need a more seamless 5G charging capability.

Anyone who has had a salesperson call to their door at an untimely moment during the pandemic must’ve questioned the old ways of doing business. It may be part of the reason why some traditional telcos are often rated alongside utility companies in many markets. Plenty of offers and deals that sound great at the point of sale are sadly not the same as great customer care and experiences though the lifetime of a relationship. Nor do such traditional approaches have the same “light touch” efficiency or natural timeliness that over-the-top (OTT) service providers like Netflix have enjoyed for years.

But for some service providers the “typical” (mainly retail) customer relationship, is likely to change significantly in the coming years. Much talked-about 5G is set to become an efficient flywheel of service innovation for enterprise customers especially. Its promise is to be truly cloud-based and flexible to the point of “whatever your enterprise needs”, include features such as: network slicing and improvements to coverage, device density and latency. These features might be a little further down the tracks for some service providers, but others have been pressing hard in the direction of standalone (SA) or end-to-end 5G that will make these features more available. Latest GSA (Global Mobile Suppliers Association) figures for October 2021 showed that nearly 100 operators are progressing with SA 5G.

Enterprise customers typically insist on great customer care – and have the buying power to get it. If telcos found even retail customer care tough going with 4G, then the myriad of enterprise features likely to be catalysed by 5G could surely be untenable for some in terms of customer support. Better then, at least for some telcos expanding in this enterprise space, to provide valuable partners with advantageous 5G attributes and leave end-user care to those same partners. In other words, telcos can de-risk the launch of new services by becoming more B2B themselves and allowing partner brands to be more front and centre when it comes to B2B2x as well as retail.

Service providers can retain full ownership of the things they have been really good at or are rapidly improving, including: their networks, data and of course monetisation. They can also retain ownership of the boundary (or exposure) between the core capabilities of their new 5G networks and the hugely ambitious enterprises that are also interested in availing of 5G features*. Some of these are highly innovative, multinational companies such as auto manufacturers, gaming companies and augmented reality trendsetters of all kinds.

The amazing new 5G capabilities will of course also need to be monetised. They will need to rely on highly adaptive operator charging capability that can adjust as needed to a rapidly evolving “on-demand” and ultra-flexible payments economy. Multi-party value chains and revenue share will need to be catered for as well as yet-to-be-imagined business models and currencies.

No doubt person-to-person selling will have its place for a long time to come but increasingly expectant and digital consumers and especially enterprises have evolved. Getting the balance between customer and partner care as well as light-touch, volume-driven but monetisable service diversity will be more important than ever post-pandemic.

*For more on the Amdocs 5G Network Exposure Function (NEF), visit our web page.

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