Preparing for the next telecom revolution

by Amrita Premrajan, InformationWeek, November 29, 2012

In an era of price wars, commoditization of core voice-based services, slowing subscriber growth rate and falling profit margins, telecom service providers are increasingly investing in certain technologies that will help them control churn by providing value added and intelligent services

According to a recent Gartner report, IT spending in India will reach USD 71.5 billion by the year 2013. Out of this, the telecom vertical alone would be spending some USD 47.8 billion on IT. And service providers are now investing in various technologies to pursue opportunities in a highly competitive market.

Katyayan Gupta, Analyst and Connectivity Lead, Telecom and Networking Services, APAC & Emerging Markets, Forrester Research reminisces how the focus of service providers evolved over the last couple of years. “Previously service providers were primarily inclined to get people on board and inflate their subscriber base numbers. But today, in our country with a population of 1.2 billion, we have already reached a penetration of 160-170 percent in urban areas,” he says. Customers also have the choice of switching operators with the MNP (mobile number portability) facility. So service providers are now focusing on concrete steps to retain their existing customer base and prevent customer churn.

“The operators today are focusing a lot more on the customers who are on-board, reaching out to them proactively, and providing Value Added Services (VAS). This is the story of Indian Operators 2.0, which is all about VAS and enabling intelligent services to customers,” he says. Some of the key technologies that the telecom vertical has been investing in include business intelligence and analytics, Big Data, predictive analytics, Operations Support System (OSS), Business Support System (BSS), customer experience management, social media, multi-channel integration of CRM, and technologies to tap into the enterprise market. Let’s dig deeper into these focus areas, and what might be the business benefit.


Big Data has been a buzzword this year, and like various industry verticals, the telecom industry has been trying to understand the real business benefits that it would bring in, as the stakes are high when it comes to investing in this technology. Praveen Bhadada, Director, Zinnov Management Consulting, says telcos are increasingly interested in looking at Big Data technologies to tap into, and derive meaning out of the information, which they are already storing. “For example, petabytes of data is stored, just from Call Data Records (CDR) that are being generated every day. Telcos want to figure out a way to look at these CDRs, map what the customer preferences could be, and predict where a customer is likely to spend more — and what might be the offerings which would eventually become relevant for customers,” he says.

Resonating the same thought, Neeraj Arora, Director and Lead, Internet Business Solutions Group, Service Provider, Cisco India & SAARC says, “Big Data analytics is becoming a key differentiator for Indian service providers. The confluence of the network-side analytics and customerside analytics is where we believe that the next inflection will come in for Indian service providers — which would be true Big Data. Here you would get volume, variety and velocity of data. This means network side analytics, which tells us the location of the customer, and which tower or Wi-Fi access point he/she is closest to, can be mashed with the customer-side analytics data, which essentially includes information around usage/consumption patterns of the consumers. This will together open up a lot of, hitherto unknown opportunities for the service providers to tap into, and derive value. This could be called the Wave 2.0 of Big Data.”

Within 12-18 months, predictive analytics will become core to the service provider’s strategy

Katyayan Gupta, Analyst & Connectivity Lead, Telecom and Networking Services, APAC & Emerging Markets, Forrester Research


Forrester’s Gupta says, “Predictive Analytics will become very important in the future. This solution would enable predicting the behaviour patterns of specific users, enabling the operators to provide personalized solutions for individual customers depending on their specific usage patterns. But there is still a maturity, which the Indian operators need to achieve before this happens. We are looking at anywhere between 12-18 months when predictive analytics will become core to the service provider’s strategy.”

About Author

Amrita Premrajan is an IT journalist based in New Delhi with more than four years of experience in reporting on enterprise technology and interviewing CIOs and technology professionals. Currently, she is Senior Correspondent at InformationWeek India. She has a Masters Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar

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