How Indian telecoms can transform to digital world

Jennifer Kyriakakis, co-founder and VP Marketing at MATRIXX discusses, how, in order to effectively service the 4G subscriber, CSPs in India must evolve into digital service providers (DSPs), upgrading outdated BSS technology and processes that will enable them to capture market share and effectively service the digital customer.

The roll-out of LTE in India is set to completely revolutionize the mobile experience for subscribers, opening up a range of Internet services that are optimized by superfast mobile data connectivity. In turn, it will enable CSPs to interact more effectively with their customers and generate additional revenue from data services.

CSPs in India are gearing up to launch and expand TD-LTE services across the country. Inspired by the success of LTE in China, India’s leading CSPs have all made their intentions transparent – they want to launch the greatest 4G network. India’s largest operator, Bharti Airtel, is currently ahead of the competition having already rolled out across 20 cities in India to date; Vodafone India recently announced that it is now trialling 4G services in selected cities; meanwhile Idea Cellular has aggressive plans to launch its 4G service in 2016.

The competition is heating up and it’s not only the incumbents that can take advantage of this opportunity – new entrants can also utilize the 4G spectrum for telecoms services. Broadband service provider Reliance Jio, for example, has been investing heavily in 4G technology and is inching closer to launching 4G services by the end of the year. New entrants have an advantage over traditional CSPs in that they can launch with back-end systems that are specifically designed for monetizing and delivering 4G services.

Aware of the impact that new entrants have made since the roll-out of TD-LTE in China, the incumbent operators will be conscious that their market positions are not secure as the transition to LTE takes place. Therefore, the need to offer unique 4G service propositions and experiences becomes vital in order to capture share of the market and show subscribers that there is value in signing up to their network.
4G users want HD voice
Servicing the digital subscriber

As subscribers begin to migrate to 4G, they are beginning to expect more from their service providers. They are becoming less brand-focussed and instead are searching for a provider that can offer them a service that suits their needs and lifestyle. They are rejecting ‘one size fits all’ tariffs and fixed rate plans, and are instead looking for a mobile service that provides flexibility and transparency. This includes the ability to instantly make mobile account purchases, regulate usage and tailor packages to instantly suit their needs – all direct from their mobile devices instead of via a call center.

In order to service this demand, CSPs will need to transition into digital service providers – providing subscribers with complete control over their data services through self-care apps. To achieve this requires an overhaul of legacy billing systems for the adoption of real time policy and charging solutions. These systems will need to deal with high levels of data transactions while supporting new marketing initiatives, driven by an individual customer’s specific requirements for what they want from their provider.
Jennifer Kyriakakis, co-founder and VP Marketing at MATRIXX
A technological evolution for digital enablement

In a rush to pull new business models together, CSPs in developed markets implemented quick fixes, installing glossy marketing and campaign tools, and questionable analytics software. Regrettably, these solutions can only service the 4G subscriber at a basic level, and don’t provide the real-time insight that CSPs require if they are to deliver’on consumers’ digital demands, differentiate their offerings and monetize their LTE services.

In order to become digital service providers, CSPs need to instead employ next generation billing systems that give them the real-time interactive account transparency and management options required in today’s LTE environment. This will enable them to deliver unique, personalized services and offers to customers, and adjust price plans as the relationship with the customer evolves. Charging, policy and analytics will need to align so that service providers can better control the entire customer lifecycle and charge customers granularly only for what they consume, and then upsell them with offers they like because they’re based on purchase history or metrics from usage patterns.

There is also the speed at which new propositions and products can be rolled out that sets DSPs apart – they are more agile, development cycles are much shorter and cheaper – therefore all-round they are far more profitable.

Leading the data revolution

The tide is changing in the Indian telecoms market place as superfast 4G services are slowly unleashed. There is a huge opportunity for CSPs that can take advantage of this situation and take on the role of integrated digital providers, offering a variety of data consumption and spend management services that can be delivered directly to the subscriber’s mobile device. This model will give fledgling DSPs an advantage over players who are held back by conventional charging and policy technologies that lack the flexibility for ongoing invention and real-time service delivery.

It will be interesting to see if established players will realize that evolution is key to them retaining their market positions as the landscape changes and new entrants come to market. The CSPs that manage the transition successfully will be able to develop new and sustainable business models tailored to meet the customer’s requirements, those that do not could be beaten by their competitors.

By Jennifer Kyriakakis, co-founder and VP Marketing at MATRIXX

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