Analytics is already an essential competitive weapon for many MNOs in a market now dominated by data and beset by fast declining margins per MB. The main focus so far has been on the network in the quest for efficiencies and management of offload to Wi-Fi, but that is changing with a fast growing emphasis on the consumer and associated end device in a bid to combat churn and open up new revenues through exploitation of personal data. This trend is already evident and we predict that 2016 will be the year when consumer and device analytics comes of age not just for MNOs but right across the mobile value chain. This will include device OEMs and at the level of aggregate data market research firms, app providers and others.
Data from the device will complete the picture of end to end mobile activity, adding to what is already available from the cellular network and also increasingly from the Wi-Fi side. After all only around one third of all mobile data is carried over a cellular network with most of the rest going over Wi-Fi. Furthermore at least 40% of the information about the service as a whole can only be obtained from the devices themselves. On top of that the device is the only place where information about user activities and behaviour can readily be obtained.
During 2016 then, we anticipate consumer analytics starting to have a significant impact on the bottom line for MNOs, both by applying it themselves for actions that boost customer satisfaction and upsell services, and by providing reports and insights to third parties.
By building a complete picture of the service and user experience, MNOs will be ready to enter the era of consumer analytics where not only can they optimize service performance but also add value in many other ways during their subscribers’ digital journeys. Some of these benefits will be aimed at improving customer satisfaction and so reducing churn, such as increasing device battery life, which remains a major bugbear for mobile users. Battery capacity has struggled to keep pace with the increasingly voracious appetite for power of mobile devices and services, while discharge time has barely increased over the history of cellular services. Technologies, however, are already in place to track power consumption across different networks, including Wi-Fi as well as cellular, and combine this with knowledge of different apps.
Hence, in 2016, Operators can start to actively manage the user experience based on insights derived from the device end, such as switching off the Wi-Fi radio when not needed to improve battery life, which has already been shown to raise customer satisfaction and cut churn significantly. Access to accurate real time device data will also enable performance to be optimized and balanced against power saving.
Even more interesting perhaps from the MNO’s perspective is the potential for observing the changing circumstances of their customers’ digital journeys during the day and combining that with known preferences to generate relevant actions designed to add value and derive revenue. MNOs can combine device location, which is provided by the network, with knowledge of the user’s interests as well as immediate activities. This brings together data from three different sources, the network, customer database and the device.
Such information can be highly valuable not just to operators themselves but also third parties such as brands and app providers. Until now location based promotion and advertising has been fairly negligible compared with other forms of online targeting but there are signs that is changing too. A panel held by the magazine Advertising Week in September 2015 discussed how location based advertising was now gaining momentum as the technology matures, but with the message that to really take off, brands and app providers needed to tap information from devices that was currently beyond their reach.