Pricing – CSPs needs common sense

Written by on December 21, 2015 in Guest Blog with 0 Comments

CSPs wisdom

This article was first contributed by Robert Hagan of Redknee.

The concept for delivering voice services used to be simple; the communications service provider (CSP) helped the subscriber to connect with other subscribers – this was the value a customer perceived and paid for. Most CSPs transferred this concept to mobile data by continuing to provide simple connectivity services, with their value coming from providing high quality mobile broadband, with a focus on related operational and transactional costs and prices. This concept means that the CSP simply ensures connectivity and network quality – the backbone to transfer bigger and bigger data amounts for basically the same price.

However, smartphones have created an open ecosystem that has changed this value chain and the entire customer experience. Mobile data, mass-market smartphones and an immense variety of applications form the most dramatic game changing technology the telecoms market has ever seen. Growth is everywhere. Mobile data is not just about mobile data. It is about entertainment, finance, education, social life and gaming. The user experience is not just about connectivity or high speeds – it’s simplicity, it’s control, it’s the ability to combine services, it’s intimacy, security and more.

Mobile data services are the enabler for this revolution, representing the big game changer in the telecoms industry. With traditional voice and SMS revenues declining, CSPs’ survival depends on their success in monetising this growing demand for mobile data services.

Efficient operations remain crucial in the competitive environment, but in many ways this has become table-stakes. Network reliability and operations must be enhanced by three key elements for a successful data monetisation strategy: The number of mobile broadband connections is expected to remain strong well into the future, with almost four billion connections to be added globally in the next five years. More LTE networks mean more customers accessing high speed networks, which means increasing usage of data hungry applications that require more bandwidth – a classic positive feedback loop.

  1. Customer focus – Understanding the customer environment, and the way services and products are being used. It is about growing and improving the customer experience – stipulating not just more, but more valuable service usage. This requires tools that enable the CSP to promote differentiated products at the right time across all touch points.
  2. Differentiated products – Instead of only focusing on efficiently delivering one product, invest in infrastructure to provide products that differentiate and serve customers’ individual needs. It is crucial that new services and products can be quickly and efficiently developed, rolled out, tried, verified – and if needed adapted, rolled back or scaled up for success.
  3. Digital experience – Digital natives expect CSPs to deliver an entire digital experience, not just the standard voice service. They have come to expect what Amazon, Facebook, YouTube and other OTT players have delivered – real-time, personalised services. Providing them with greater empowerment, control, transparency and security. CSPs need to be able to develop a relationship with the customer that takes them from their first engagement, through consumption. This requires being able to manage a full suite of products and services, and quickly launching the latest offering. This digital experience must be provided across all touch points – from engaging with subscribers through retail stores and self-care apps, to social media and traditional care channels. This is the foundation needed to more fully engage customers. The opportunity to thoroughly understand the way CSP services and products are used, helping to improving customer value, and providing the right products at the right time to the right people.

The good news is that CSPs are perfectly positioned for this.

Smart pricing is all about knowing your customer and giving them what they want, when they want it.

The network – plus data from devices – provides an immense amount of information about customers; information that must be treated with care, respecting individual privacy requirements and carefully balanced to jointly serve and benefit customers and CSPs. Big data analytics helps us to understand patterns, needs, key factors and opportunities – and aggregating this information makes it available for real-time decision making, including something we call smart pricing.

CSPs have the ability to understand, empower, engage, and guide customers throughout their mobile experience, motivating them towards more valuable service usage and spending – smart pricing their offerings and services in ways that are attractive for subscribers.

Make sure you have what it takes to provide these differentiated products and services. Make sure you truly understand your customers and can give them the digital experience they demand – and make sure you have the agility and operational efficiency to move faster than your competitors.

All of this requires certain critical capabilities in a CSP’s back office and network infrastructure:

  • Integrated real-time charging and policy management, with traffic inspection capabilities
  • A convergent BSS environment, serving all customers on all CSP network technologies
  • Capability to manage multiple business partners and support content partnering and data sponsoring models

Smart pricing is about combining customer context with current behavioural events and triggers, even social media, to provide a better customer experience with personalised, valuable smart offerings that are delivered at the right time. It’s time to make sure your business has the tools and systems it needs to grow customer ARPU and guide and motivate subscribers towards more valuable service offerings – and grow your bottom line.

This article was first published here, and is reproduced with kind permission.

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About the Author

About the Author: Founder, Publisher and Editorial Director with Prestige Media Jeremy is the founder of Prestige Media Ltd (PML) and co-founder of WeKnow Media Ltd (WKM), the parent companies of VanillaPlus and M2M Now, respectively. Launched in 1999, the VanillaPlus portfolio includes VanillaPlus Magazine, VanillaPlus Directory (both available in print and online), and VanillaPlus Bites, a free monthly email news service, as well as VanillaPlus.com which features Digital Editions, Video Interviews, Latest News, Features, Special Reports and Webinar Podcasts. From 1993-99, Jeremy was managing editor of the communications division at Nexus Communications with editorial and business development responsibility for 12 communications publications including Mobile Europe, Mobile Asia Pacific, Mobile & Cellular (UK), Mobile Middle East & Africa, Mobile Latino America, Communications News, Cabling World, and Network Europe. .

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