In the last few years, the average telecom bandwidth consumption per subscriber has significantly increased. According to statista.com, global mobile data usage is set to increase significantly in the next few years, and projected to reach an average of 34 GB per smartphone per month in 2026. North America is set to become the region with the highest average mobile data usage per smartphone with 52 GB of mobile data per month by 2027. In Western Europe and India, the average mobile data usage is also projected to reach 50 GB or more by that time.
The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we work, creating huge dependency on data availability. With the only option being staying at home, entertainment has switched mostly to IPTVs and OTT apps. Today, telecom subscribers need faster speed of internet and near 100% network uptime. Telecom enterprises are heavily investing in upgrading their infrastructure to 5G. To meet the needs of the subscribers, telecom enterprises need to focus on ways to enhance end customers’ experience and expectations.
With augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) becoming the source of real life-like entertainment, the telecom network has acted as a backbone, and will continue to do so with metaverse coming into play very soon.
Key trends shaping the telecom industry
5G - In 2030, 5G is expected to generate $960 billion in GDP on a global basis according to GSMA. Mid-band spectrum will drive an increase of more than $610 billion in global GDP in 2030, producing almost 65% of the overall socio-economic value generated by 5G.
It is poised to meet the demand for high-speed connectivity to keep businesses and customers happy, and enable businesses to gain real-time insights and total control over their products, services, and assets. Lesser cost, ultrafast speed, and lower latency are some of the expected benefits of 5G that the telecom industry will experience.
Internet of Things to Internet of Everything - The demand for home and industrial IoT devices and applications will continue to exponentially increase in the post-pandemic world.
Streaming services – As more OTT streaming services enter the market, viewers are expected to switch to streaming services with a preference to use their mobile devices for viewing the content.
Artificial intelligence (AI)/Machine learning (ML) - Telcos heavily leverage AI and ML to drive automation for their infrastructure operations. The new era of AI will use data to predict peak traffic, provide better end-to-end service, and enhance connectivity. The primary focus will be on predictive maintenance and network optimization. Telecommunication trends are even pushing AI-powered tools like chatbots, virtual assistants, and conversational AI to empower the business telephony for deploying satisfactory customer service.
How can service integrators help telecom enterprises?
With the rise in telecom enterprises working towards meeting the customer expectations, service integrators have a huge supporting role to play in this journey. Here are some of the business services that telecom enterprises will require in the areas mentioned earlier.
Project management for 5G upgrade
Telcos are migrating from 4G to 5G infrastructure. A seamless migration and upgrade of the supporting hardware will require robust planning and execution. Telcos will need infrastructure project management services which include design, on-the-day support, co-ordination, and records data management. Similarly, there will be a need for order management with the subscribers moving from 4G to 5G.
Proactive service assurance and customer experience
Telcos will need to provide top notch assurance services especially during this migration as this is a juncture where subscriber churn can occur with even the slightest customer dissatisfaction. Telcos will need to provide proactive, simple, and personalized customer experience to the subscribers.
Order management and billing
With the rise of streaming services, there will be demand for solutions for integrated plans and billing. Solutions for order management of customer premise equipment (CPE) such as installation of set-top boxes and routers and integrated billing of multiple products will experience a rise in demand. Service integrators will need to bring an innovative approach to order fulfilment and billing. There is a demand for an end-to-end service offering that touches the customer journey from onboarding to billing and retention.
Analytics and insights
Analytics and insights (A&I) will play a huge role in identifying the ever-changing expectations of customers. Service integrators will use speech and text analytics to continuously enhance the knowledge portals and agent assist tools. Sentiment analytics and social media listening is an essential element that is needed for timely issue resolution. Customer churn analytics must be used for customer retention and to safeguard the revenue.
Fulfilling customer expectations for improved customer experience
To address the ever evolving customer expectations, service integrators will need to curate service offerings that have a combination of core business knowledge and leading technologies such as robotics process automation, cognitive technologies, and advanced analytics. Customers need a quick resolution to their issues; they expect their telecom service providers to know their issues and offer proactive communication. Customers expect a simple experience, and therefore, a design thinking-led approach is needed to curate a simple and best-in-class customer journey. Today, customers are looking for convenience above all. Telcos will need to ensure that the experience of customers from customer acquisition to retention is simple and convenient.
Arun Singh is the Telecom Presales Head at Wipro DO&P. Arun has over 17 years of experience in BPS, encompassing presales and solutions, business development, bid management, project management, and operations management.