By Jennifer Kyriakakis, founder and VP marketing, Matrixx Software
In 2015, most telcos in first world markets have undergone some form of digital transition. 2016 will see communications service providers, both virtual and traditional, continuing their evolution towards fully fledged digital brands, creating new products and services tailored to the individual customer’s wants and needs.
Currently, most of the world’s mobile subscribers are pre-paid and are yet to experience the full range of digital services smartphones now offer. This will change in 2016 as service providers work to bring low cost smartphones and a more rounded digital customer experience to the pre-paid market.
Pre-paid customers often concentrate their usage on free Wi-Fi and have traditionally been reluctant users of mobile data services. Going digital allows telcos to attract users with trial promotions, sponsored content, shared data, and other low cost packages that can be purchased instantly through the handset.
Data packages can to be sold in smaller increments, directly through the handset (instead of requiring a voucher or IVR interaction), and the result is more accessible and affordable 3G and 4G options to drive uptake and higher ARPU.
Birth of a new payment model
2016 will see telcos deploying a new payment model which does not fall into the traditional prepaid or post-paid bucket. As the subscription market has peaked and we move into a more consumption based economy, the preferred method will be ‘pay now.’ Sign up with your credit card details and when subscribers buy something, they pay for it instantly.
For example, if subscribers want 2GB of data or 48 hours of Facebook access, they pay for it, own it and use it as they wish. There will be no dealing with messy credit checks, rollovers, vouchers, or invoices. If a subscriber runs out of a service, they buy more and the operator will charge them instantly and be done with it. It’s as easy as ordering a film from Amazon.
Smart data packaging takes hold
Packaging, selling and delivering content and services through digital channels will finally enable telcos to get creative on data pricing and packaging. In 2016, we will see a significant number of service providers moving away from selling buckets of data, to selling customisable plans that are packaged in some form other than large chunks of GBs.
Service providers will be experimenting to find the right mix of customer preference and margin to make their offerings more consumable while maintaining profitability.
IoT platforms will run out of runway
The Internet of Things (IoT) is set to come to life next year. Big data platforms are already running full throttle to figure out the data that matters and what can be thrown away. As connected devices become more functional and commonplace, the industry is realising that there is a significant gap between the infrastructure required to support IoT devices and the ability to monetise IoT data.
To make the economics work, industry players will either need to punt on profitability, or find more cost effective solutions to monetise the data generated by the IoT. Carrier service providers and IoT players will look for the next wave on innovation and scalability to handle the data deluge, and better analytics to drive business models that will stand up to a business case.
In 2016 we can expect to see more service providers evaluating, strategising and undertaking fledgling digital initiatives. They will close the door on multi-year, complex – and costly – digital transformation projects in favour of fast-track digital programmes. This will allow them to deliver the agility and cost benefits necessary to compete against continually emerging digital brands and mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs).
Matrixx provides a next generation digital commerce platform to rapidly configure and deploy new products and services that can be sold, delivered and serviced through mobile and digital channels.