While the current environment may seem bleak for telecom operators, opportunities are waiting at the doorstep for the smart communications providers willing to invest in new industries, audiences, and technologies.
Communications service providers' (CSPs) revenue streams have drastically slowed down due to the declining use of traditional voice services and phenomenal growth of free communication platforms like WhatsApp and Skype. However, some alternative revenue opportunities have become available to forward-thinking telecom companies willing to welcome the new era of communications. The key revenue opportunities for telecoms lie in data monetization, B2B industries, and the rapid growth of mobile in emerging markets across the globe.
Converting big data into big returns
This may sound obvious, but it's not quite as simple as you think. Telecommunication providers are compiling mass quantities of information gathered from a variety of sources, and they have teams of analysts working to convert this information into profitable insights and opportunities. Those who have succeeded in analyzing the data have managed to determined where their customers are, how they interact, and the additional products they may desire.
However, many traditional telecom operators are still struggling to transition to the 21st-century business model. For telcos operating with multiple legacy systems, a clear path to data management is required to combine traditional databases with big data technologies in a convenient manner.
Understanding the potential of B2B industries
One of the many industries currently undergoing a significant digital disruption is healthcare. The adoption of connected medical devices is well underway, enabling medtech companies to collect and analyze information wirelessly, as well assume full control over devices in a state of emergency.
Wearables measuring everything from glucose levels to respiratory rates are at our fingertips; there are now even wireless pacemakers available to those who can afford them. With Gartner forecasting more than 274 million wearable devices to be sold by the end of 2016, the connected device market promises many future revenue opportunities in both the B2B and B2C spaces.
As industries speed up their progress to prepare for the smart era, telecom companies are struggling to achieve a healthy balance of strength, agility, and leanness, which brings us back to outdated operating models. As such, it's imperative for telecom companies to execute transformation programs that involve plans to adapt and evolve processes to meet the requirements of new markets.
Expanding into emerging markets
Like everything else, telecom companies differ greatly depending on the country or region. For instance, mobile broadband usage in Africa has seen an impressive increase due to the introduction of cheaper smartphones coupled with an expansion of 3G coverage. The Latin American mobile infrastructure is also seeing a boost in network infrastructure to match the drastically increased mobile data usage demands.
But entering these growing markets is no simple task. Compared to a market such as Australia, which has just a few telecom operators to choose from, there's substantially more competition across both Africa and Latin America. There's also additional red tape when penetrating markets that are made up of multiple countries.
We've come a long way since Alexander Graham Bell. Never before has the telecommunications industry operated at such a rapid pace. The industry now also has to balance the influx of new technologies with the overwhelming amounts of data available to make informed business decisions.
While the future brings extensive revenue possibilities, transformation strategies and programs are crucial for telecom operators to both successfully respond to today's requirements and remain competitive in the long-term.