Finally, it seems, telcos have moved from a defensive position towards the digital world, to one where they are embracing it. Whether there is an excitement in the corridors or whether change is being fuelled by fear actually does not matter. The important thing is that radical change is happening.
One of the recent surveys conducted by Openet among operators shows that they are now seriously addressing the fact that they are not agile enough. They know that it should take days not weeks to build offers, but they admit that the reality is that it still takes months.
They also know that charging must go digital as their world goes digital. The customer experience must resemble digital players such as Uber, Apple or AirBnB. The age of post paid subscriptions is gone. Encouragingly, they are embracing the fact that payments is the new billing. Making the charging and payments piece easy, instant and secure is now a priority.
The approach will change from organisation to organisation. Some will go for the ‘greenfield’ approach and essentially build a new charging model without having to think about the impact on legacy systems. Dealing with legacy systems is seen as a major challenge for this year.
The good news is that, generally speaking, operators have more strings to their bow than the digital service providers who they see eroding their revenues. Many of even the biggest players rely on advertising for the bulk of their revenue. And this is against a backdrop of increasing pressure on the advertising world. Ad blocking is increasing exponentially. Data protection is about to be placed in the way of personalised advertising and more and more operators are putting up ad blocking mechanisms themselves.
Operators, on the other hand, have charging, payments, security and trust as assets. They are, increasingly, behaving like big media players. Verizon is building a joint venture with Hearst Media, they are also launching sponsored data plans and looking to include NFL in their bundles. Vodafone is launching Vodafone TV. The communications world is now a multi-play arena.
Charging itself is becoming virtualised. Cost efficiency and flexibility are the goals. Indeed, Openet has not seen an RFP that does not call for some level of virtualisation in the last three years.
To understand these trends and get some insights into effective strategies for charging, and, well, everything, tune in to a short webinar on Wednesday 9th March, hosted by Disruptive Views and Openet. You will come away with interesting statistics to help you build a business case, understand what the leading players are doing, how and why, and learn how much charging really is changing.
This article first appeared in DisruptiveViews