Monday, 8 September 2014


When things are getting interesting and moving as fast as they are in the communications world, it is easy to get ahead of yourself. Sometimes you seem to go round in circles. It is advisable, if this happens, not to meet yourself coming the other way. 

We are definitely still at the stage of selling ‘data’ but we are beginning to make this cloudy concept clearer. We are selling speed, because speed delivers value to make certain bandwidth hungry applications work properly. And we are selling Voice 2.o in order to fight back against OTT voice players. Confusion is easy to catch amongst the wealth of services now being offered by operators around the world.

A simple ‘Top Ten’ LTE services from operators around the world, it takes us on a concise but interesting journey from speed, through shared plans to sponsored data and beyond. It is interesting to compare what operators in different regions are doing, both within their own region and beyond.

You can sell speed in different ways of course. Once you have customers who have run up to their data limits – a reasonably common occurrence as we know – you can offer to restore their speed and give them more data for a few days, thus selling them a service and solving a problem for the customer.
The majority of operators will be launching Voice over LTE in the next two years. This demands guaranteed quality, and policy management and real time charging can manage this. What it also means, apart from offering customers ‘free’ high quality voice, is that expensive legacy networks and systems can be ‘recycled’ and therefore costs can be cut.

‘Beyond’ sponsored data, some operators are now collaborating with OTT players and this trend will mature and become commonplace in the next two to three years. Offering access to applications such as Facebook and other content partners for free means the partner gets access to the operator’s customers and the operators gets a deal for his. Once hooked, customers trying out this free access can be migrated onto longer term offers.

Whether the offer is a simple speed or data one, or whether it is something more sophisticated, the critical factor is to enable the purchase or acceptance of the deal on the device, as your customer thinks about it. This is a turning point for the communications industry, this acceptance that everything must be responsive in real time.

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