What’s next for India Telecom?
A look at some interesting developments in recent past gives a glimpse of the times to come
The horizon appears cloudy like never before with flashpoints featuring operators and regulators, carriers and OTT players, software majors and service providers, content creators and moral policemen. That shows how telecom has become the lifeblood of business and human interactions. A quick look at some interesting developments in recent past gives a glimpse of the times to come.
The service operator who won a license five years back, got license to provide voice services two years back, and has ready-to-go-live infrastructure on the ground, but is silent about immediate plans of activating it. Interestingly, the same group gets eulogized by the media for operationalizing the world’s biggest refinery in record time.
The new breed of communication apps is nibbling furiously at the revenues of the gargantuan operators like piranhas. One operator tested waters of net neutrality by hosting paid apps. This move under the guise of an open marketing platform that will allow customers to access mobile applications at zero data charges backfired.
When such events on the horizon occur too often, putting out trends is a risk, yet the task of doing so is inevitable in times of quarterly guidance. So, here are my 12 points.
1 VOICE RULES:
Even as mobile data continues to rise steeply, voice revenues still make up close to an approximate estimation of 75 to 80 percent of operator revenues. Voice continues to be the one thing that is holding back Reliance Jio onslaught. More so, with voice-over LTE showing no signs of ensuring seamless handover and interoperability issues, with Airtel going for Circuit Switched FallBack option as an interim option which runs the risk of hemorrhaging growth.
2 ANALYTICS POWERED BILL PLANS:
As operators gain key insights into customer behaviors, these will help shape the customer experience to monetize all kinds of instances and devise new revenue streams. The promotional campaigns will be targeted more closely and bill plans will be more planned to entice and get the user hooked. Moreover these plans and insights would be in real time to ensure timely acceptance of change of plans what a user is wanting and hence will fuel the real time user analytics to enhance customer user experience. One can expect soaring data usage driven by attractive offers and the urge to stay connected.
3 OTT ZOOMS:
Operators will continue to lose revenues from customers using OTT voice applications. Some predictions put the losses at $386 billion between 2012 and 2018. While the enterprises switch to Lync and Skype, the untapped markets will be prised open by apps like Whatsapp. The Indian market, which is showcasing quick pace in embracing the value options, will prove to be the favorite hunting ground for the OTT players. On the Indian stage, the Hike and Airtel interplay will indicate how close an operator can get to an OTT player.
4 BUSINESS MODELS:
As business success of all hues hinge on internet, the operators and social network- ing services company will see a changing relationship. Together they plan to bring affordable access to selected Internet services to underserved markets by increasing efficiency, devising new business models around the provision of Internet access. Internet.org saw the Reliance Communications join hands with Facebook. More such unexpected relationships will be seen where the partners take a plunge even with the uncertainty about business models and revenue potential. While the social media companies bring in new users into the operators’ fold, the alliances with the operators compromise the net neutrality. Uncertainty clouds the new paradigm however the insane success of social media giants is pushing the operators into it.
5 OPTIMIZING NETWORKS:
The increasing usage of smartphones is fueling the demand for mobile broadband. The deployment of 4G/LTE and Wi-Fi offloads will entice the customers to gorge on high bandwidth services on the go - from text messaging to low latency live TV streaming. The networks need to be optimized for wildly fluctuating bandwidth demands.
6 MONETIZING SERVICES:
Managing bandwidth and volumes across variety of customer segments and user concentration diversity paves the way for BSS architectures based on policy control function and online charging and billing. The flood of wearables and connected devices are adding unwieldy variety to the mix. These revitalized BSS constructs simplifying the creation, launch and management of plans which appeal to target customers ahead of the competition.
7 PERSONALIZING EXPERIENCES:
As comfort level of customers with online interactions for customer support and services steadies, expectations of an endearing customer experience across devices is taken for granted, The onus lies on the operators to make it happen. In the midst of all the online frenzy of online experience the physical stores provide the anchor for messaging and credibility. The physical touchpoint retains its importance even if it may not swell the customer base significantly.
8 THINGIFYING INTERNET:
The internet is taken for granted in the new breed of wearbles and connected devices. These devices are ubiquitous, low bandwidth hungry and integral part of the devices. The telecom gear manufacturers are working furiously to slip in a machine-tomachine connectivity platform into the telecom infrastructure. And IT services companies will work towards slipping in a platform to handle payments and support.
9 APP ATTACK:
As the ecommerce behemoths in India go ‘app only’, the operators will be continue to lose internet minutes. There are strong possibilities of the loss being compensated by the sellers incorporating richer and video intensive customer experiences. More so with the customer experience playing a critical role in making the browser the hit button.
10 DELIVERING CONTENT:
The bottom line for the operator continues to be delivering content. The richer the content the more the consumption and revenues. As provisioning gets more complex the dilemma lies in how much can the operator diversify and how much of the pie can be shared with the content delivery networks. The established niche players like Akamai continue to create more value for the operators. Reliance Communications started deploying nextgeneration content and cloud delivery network. Many such initiatives will find ready usage as the Digital India initiative gathers momentum.
11 Wi-Fi OFFLOAD:
The amount of data carried on mobile networks is showing all signs of reaching unmanageable levels. The dependence on complementary network technologies for delivering data seems inescapable. While mobile data offloading will become a new industry segment, Wi-Fi is being seen as the frontrunner.
12 STREAMING PORN:
As the government banned 857 porn sites, the sites have been making the best use of advanced telecom infrastructure to promise “higher-class experience for those who often visit our site” with full-length HD content in 1080p across all devices. The site Pornhub streams 6,000 terabytes of data daily – and the premium solution will be uncapped, allowing for smoother video and full resolution.