mobile_appsTelecom operators worldwide have high expectations, and opinions, of their ability to capitalize on personalized, real-time digital services and generate new revenue streams and profits. But according to new research, their actual ability to rapidly develop new applications and digital services is being compromised by the difficulties they are experiencing adding or integrating services with existing legacy IT systems and platforms.

A survey of more than 1,000 network operators conducted by business support services (BSS) specialist Openet reveals operators’ frustrations regarding the inflexibility of legacy systems and their desire to launch new digital apps and services that can provide more in the way of real-time, customer-specific functions, better engagement and faster product development.

Telco OSS Survey
Openet’s survey results reveal that more than half the network operators surveyed have tried to make use of real-time data to create digital customer offers and services. A large majority (70 percent) said their organizations’ offerings were worse or much worse than those of over-the-top (OTT) providers, however.

Network operators view OTT VoIP and messaging services as their toughest competition when it comes to making the most of digital services. Nearly 6 in 10 (57 percent) feel their organizations are well-prepared and said their networks provided them a competitive advantage.

When it comes to common problems, large-scaling billing systems overhauls that take too long and a general inability in adapting legacy systems to support real-time digital applications and services were cited as the top two obstacles to carriers’ digital ICT (information and communications technology) transformations.

Nearly 4 in 10 (37 percent) said the need to be more agile in terms of digital systems and platforms, reducing product life-cycles and bringing more products and services to market faster were their organizations’ biggest challenges.

In addition:

  • 63 per cent of operators think it should take between one and seven days to create and send targeted and personalized offers
  • 64 per cent admitted it actually takes up to 6 months

“These findings highlight a real mismatch between positive intentions from the operator community to leverage all the advantages of targeted, real-time offers and the technical realities of making it happen,” Openet marketing GVP Barry Marron was quoted as saying.

“In an age of virtualized BSS technology, technology need no longer be an inhibitor to digital transformation and customer centricity.”

Looking ahead to 2016, network operators as a group see multi-play offers as their most lucrative new revenue source. That was followed closely by digital home and lifestyle services, such as home automation and security. That’s if their ICT resources are up to the task, Openet added.

Time is growing short. Nearly 7 in 10 (65 percent) of survey respondents said they are concerned about ¨commoditization¨ of mobile data services, which they anticipate will occur in the next two years.

“Operators recognize the latent value that exists in the networks they run and the data they can extract and analyze related to their customers’ behaviors,” Marron commented. “This significant advantage will count for nothing however unless they use this data to create, target and monetize these digital services. This is critical virtualized BSS value-add.”

Openet’s full report is available for free via their website.

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