Customer data analytics: savior for operators?

Martin Creaner
18 Nov 2010

You only have to look at the worldwide phenomenon that is the iPhone, the hundreds of millions of active Facebook users and the popularity of Gmail to see that today's communications world is vastly different from just a decade or two ago.

Where once operators ruled the telecom landscape largely because they owned the network infrastructure that delivered services, today the service provider and content developer reign supreme in a world where apps trump fiber or broadband.

Even the terminology for different kinds of companies that deliver services is shifting. Companies that offer communications services are called service providers, but only about 5% of these providers are actually "operators" -- meaning companies that own an actual network.

We will continue to see services offered by providers that aren't operators at all, and that will offer services ranging from the traditional (voice, texting and Internet) to a much broader range of services (automotive, health care and security).

While these changes bode extremely well for end users, who will have many more service choices than ever before, what do they mean for traditional operators that could easily end up as "dumb pipes"?

The point is that without a strong business strategy, operators will be cut out of the value chain entirely, even though they own the means for transporting services to customers. Their revenues won't dry up completely, but they'll stagnate, at best, leaving few opportunities for growth and making it more difficult to maintain strong positions in the industry.

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