When Big Data Meets the Telecom Operator

Fidel Salgueiro

Fidel Salgueiro

By Fidel Salgueiro


February 8, 2017



Data is definitely one of the most strategic points for telecommunication operators today. Due to next generation mobile network rollouts, such as 5G, IoT (internet of things) and M2M (Machine-to-Machine communications) along with increased use of smart phones and social media coming from LTE and NGN networks, telecom operators are experiencing a rise in volume, variety, and velocity in the data they collect.

It makes Big Data invaluable for Telco Companies who want to reverse the declining revenue trend affecting markets worldwide by taking advantage of their own data. Big Data gives Telecom providers the ability to leverage one of their strongest hidden assets: customer insights.

According to McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) research, Big Data is becoming the key basis of competition, creating waves of productivity growth, innovation and new business models for the future market.

The cloud architecture, open source software, Business Intelligence techniques, and commodity hardware made Big Data processing available to companies which are not even highly resourced.

Different researchers argued that Big Data is not just a property of big software and Internet companies such as Google or Facebook. Organizations of different sizes and industries are now leveraging it in many ways.

But why is Big Data important for telecom operators?

From driving down churn to improving customer experience and driving operational efficiencies there are a number of use cases for Big Data in the Telecom domain today. But it is not limited to these because Big Data is prepared to bring the most value to operators in the areas of customer retention, customer segmentation, customer experience, network optimization & planning, and marketing & sales opportunities.

According to Price WaterHouse Cooper (PWC) the applications of Big Data will improve the entire telecom value chain of telco companies and would generate benefits above the opportunities available through traditional data warehousing technologies and it includes:

☑️ Optimizing routing and quality of service by analyzing network traffic in real time.

☑️ Analyzing call data records in real time to identify fraudulent behavior immediately.

☑️ Allowing call center reps to flexibly and profitably modify subscriber calling plans immediately.

☑️ Tailoring marketing campaigns to individual customers using location-based and social networking technologies.

☑️ Using insights into customer behavior and usage to develop new products and services.

☑️ Big Data can even open up new sources of revenue, such as selling insights about customers to third parties.

☑️ Big Data can provide organizations with information about customers´ needs and interests which will allow them to do targeted marketing.

☑️ Innovate new business server and products: Proper data analysis can provide the organizations with insights about the market, e.g. which types of products are appreciated or neglected by the customers. New business models, services or products can be invented by analyzing these types of data.

☑️ Lessen business OPEX (Operational Expenditure) and CAPEX (Capital Expenditure): Big Data analytics will allow organizations to lessen their operational cost and capital cost in different ways, e.g. by optimizing business strategy.

☑️ Compete more effectively: Big Data analysis will allow organizations to know about themselves and the rivals in the market. Proper Big Data analysis will allow the companies to compete more effectively and survive in the market.

☑️ Data-Driven Decision-Making: Using data analytics as insights for decision making.

☑️ Better understanding of the customers¡: Organizations can utilize their customer data to understand their customers more efficiently and know how, when, and what they want.

☑️ Improve the customer experience

The eventual goal of Big Data is to combine and correlate every information source to generate a holistic, transparent, end-to-end map of all the interactions every individual customer or household has with the operator. But to really leverage Big Data, operators must radically modify how they gather, verify, learn from, and make use of the information in all dimensions. That means completely rethinking the purpose of the traditional telecom business.

What about next Step?

In order to capitalize fully on their unique position as creator, consumer, and conduit of Big Data, telecom companies must minimize the cost of processing and managing their data while maximizing the value they can derive from it.

For that reason it is important to integrate new data sources with current systems. Operators must collect for processing all the unstructured data, including Web, social, and machine device data to take advantage and monetize all of these data assets by leveraging them to enable fundamental business change.

Other steps that would be necessary is for the telecom companies to embrace the role of Chief Data Officer (CDO). A CDO is dedicated to mining, analyzing and managing data, and coordinating its use throughout the whole organization across use cases.

Also the CDO is in charge of the central Data and BI function which should be the engine to deliver analytics, product roadmaps, implement the chosen business models for internal and external monetization, implement robust data governance and promote a data driven vision in the organization.

Definitely Big Data offers telecom operators a real opportunity to increase the revenue and the possibility to get a complete picture of their operations and their customers, and to further their innovation efforts.  Big Data demands from each industry a very different and unconventional approach to business development. The Telco Company that can incorporate new strategies into their organization will gain a real competitive advantage over their competitors.


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