It all sounds a bit dramatic but this is exactly the challenge that is facing many mobile operators. For almost 30 years voice and text services were the main revenue generators for mobile operators. Now they are becoming all you can eat commodities. Consumers are using alternatives – such as WhatsApp for messaging, and searching out free wi-fi networks on which to use these services.
This is no Halloween horror story. Look at the 2013 ARPU and revenue figures of the major western European operators in the table below.
Yet, we’ve been talking about data centricity for the last few years. Why aren’t the figures going up if there is so much money to be made from data? All too often it comes down to BSS – or rather an over reliance on systems designed for the old standards of voice and texting (the very same services that are becoming commoditized). I just read a report from Billing Views talking about BSS reality. While we in the vendor community are talking about cool new use cases, content partnerships, new business models and revenue streams, the reality is that the billing guys in many telcos simply are hard pressed enough to get the bills out the door. Fair point, but the reality of Google, Apple, Amazon or Facebook or some new player coming in and sweeping your customers off their feet and off your services is also a reality.
Heavy Reading has just published a new white paper with Openet called Policy, BSS and the Future of Mobile Operators. This paper poses some very interesting questions (and thankfully gives some recommendations) on how operators can become data centric, open new revenue streams without ripping and replacing existing BSS stacks. The questions include the following:
- How can operators replace revenues from voice and messaging – revenues that built the business?
- Can operators be more than simply providers of flat-rate data packages sold on price and volume?
- How can operators better exploit the rich sources of information they hold on customers?
- How can operators create stronger, more dynamic relationships with customers?
- Can operators build more constructive relationships with the third-party content and app providers who create most of the value in mobile services?
- How can operators best bridge the gap between network, IT and marketing?
- Is it possible to re-engineer existing BSSs, or must they be replaced or overlaid?
- How can operators optimize network management and device-level quality of experience (QoE) when they don't control the services running on those networks and devices?
- Can operators build/deliver services at an order of magnitude faster than today?
Tricky questions, but well worth checking out the new white paper – it provides some thought provoking answers, that can help operators unblock the legacy BSS bottleneck and start making more money from data enabled services.
You can download a copy of the paper here