The Social Dilemma, how service providers can build on on trust

October 7, 2020 - Openet

On the back of the documentary, The Social Dilemma, Jonathan Plant, Marketing Director, discusses why consumers trust service providers more than OTTs

A new documentary has been released by Netflix entitled The Social dilemma. This documentary takes aim at a lot of the OTT/software companies and practices they carry out with people’s profile in order to grown ad revenue. This is nothing new. However, one comment that was made by one of the participants in the documentary struck a chord because he mentioned that mobile operators have a huge amount of people’s data but because of tighter laws, service providers have no choice but to be careful with data protection.

In July 2018, Openet undertook a piece of consumer research alongside Sapio Research to ask the following question, who do you trust most, mobile operators or OTTs? It was on the back of the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal. The research that interviewed over 1500 consumers across the globe and the results showed that 62% of respondents would trust their MNO for protecting their data. The other important stat that jumped out was that 92% of respondents were open to MNO-delivered digital services, so huge opportunities for service providers to capitalise. You can read the full report on the research here.

It is now over two years since this research has been carried out and not much seems to have changed.

With that being the case, service providers should be looking at research like ours to start being more of an influence in terms of upselling of digital services to their customers. Instead, companies like Facebook, YouTube, etc. who are so heavily reliant on the product that service providers but yet are far more ingrained in people’s lives. With the emergence of 5G and the number of connected devices or ways in which people connect will dramatically grow, service providers, are going to have an abundance of customer’s information to leverage.

As the saying goes, when the product is free you are the product. That’s how these companies work. They harness data, use algorithms and AI to ensure you are served with the most suited content and advertising to grow their revenue streams. For this to work, they need a lot of data to be accurate. So, when you look at a service provider, they charge for their product but at the same time have an abundance of data on the customer, why don’t service providers be a bit more tactile with their ability to get the best offers/promotions in front of their customers. As per the Openet research, customers are 92% open to digital services from their service provider? I’m not for one second suggest that service providers be aggressive in their tactics as these other companies but there is certainly room for them to tap into the pot.

The challenge for service providers has always been the reliance on BSS that does not enable them to turn offers around quick enough and into their customer’s faces in a real-time like fashion. The best offer is always the one that’s relevant, seems like a good deal, and at the right time. A lot of service providers are starting to come around to this with widespread digital transformation projects and gearing up for the opportunity that 5G may provide. So for service providers that have turned the ship quickly and turned their focus from selling your standard price plans and hoping for the best, they are the ones that will capitalise on the trust that they have earned over the years of securing customer data.


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