When we say digital transformation we imagine new revenue streams

Telenor Serbia and Montenegro CTO Sasa Lekovic hailed recent digital transformation efforts for preparing the operators for future revenue streams, predicting new ICT infrastructure and data leverage will become vital in this as technology evolves.

Speaking at the Huawei Better World Summit NetX 2025 & X-Tech, Telenor Serbia and Montenegro CTO Sasa Lekovic bullishly stated the company managed to weather the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic ad continue services to customers, by following its four pillars of digital transformation: maintaining the best network in the region; procure a healthy partner ecosystem with relevant services; digital services with unique mix of premium and free services; and complete control over service distribution for cost efficiencies.

On the company’s digital transformation strategy, Lekovic stated Telenor focused on three key areas for its gradual transition into a complete online company, and the capability to handle real time data at speed.

First was changing customer facing IT by leveraging new technologies as its “important to enable great experiences for customers” and provide easier access. By the end of this year the operator targets 65 to 75 per cent of customer transactions to be completed through AI-based software.

A further achievement is that around 65 per cent of customers used the My Telenor App to enquire about services. Lekovic is looking to capitalise on its wide adoption by analysing the data to improve services.

“By the end of this year, it will not just be an app for customer relations, but it will also be an additional source of data for our network, to improve services and quality”, said Lekovic.

Other initiatives to better present the company in a modern light includes using AI in call/sales centres, pushing customers to use the website store and app, and utilising social network as a channel of communication.

Secondly the company looked to boost its cloud infrastructure to increase automation and streamline operations. Lekovic claimed the operator is running the largest BSS project in central/eastern Europe.

“Our vast platforms are already cloud-based and our goal is to have in the company one universal IT common infra-layer which will serve everything and all kinds of applications to the core and original BSS platforms. To achieve a high level of automation, we believe cloud will help us in this direction”, said Lekovic.

The third area was leveraging data, analytics and AI; to become a data driven company where decisions are based on data insight. Telenor is looking to use relevant data collected from customers to create tailored propositions that fulfil exact customer needs. An example he pointed to was financial services, which had grown in popularity with operators globally.

But such a strategy requires faster speeds and latency said Lekovic. This will rise in lists of demands for most companies running software for: billing, CRM systems and campaign management systems.

“We are living in a data age, witnessing massive increases in data volume. We have different drivers pushing this situation from day to day volume of data increasing exponentially”, proclaimed Lekovic.

Lekovic warned operators there is now an urgency to leverage data appropriately to stay ahead of the game and benefit greatly from the potential gold mine they are sitting on. “We have a situation which shows our society desires to be smarter and how societies are evolving and in turn using much more data”, said Lekovic.

“But all this data we have to store somewhere in an appropriate data infrastructure, but at the same time we have to provide right data management and consistency of this data, it is absolutely clear we need high capacity oriented storages, with also specific types of power”, he added.

In a summary of data collecting, Lekovic categorises data drivers and needs into three key areas: application, data and computing. He argued data use is so widespread among a myriad of applications and devices, all requiring different needs and components, that the industry “needs diverse computing power and storages”.

Painting a picture for IT digital infrastructure in the future to cope with the heavy loads forecasted, Lekovic called for operators to build networks with high performance, concurrency, and low latency, and extreme capacity. It will be vital for telcos to have some kind of computing and storage pool which can be used effectively to offer all these important attributes in a cost-effective way.

The immediate focus for Telenor is on improving core services for increasing revenues. But preparation for the future is a constant state for the operator to embrace new realities and revenue streams. “Our big focus is how to open new revenue streams and be a modern data company. We can do this by having an appropriate ecosystem of partners for innovation. If you change yourself and simplify systems and processes, expect new operating models.”

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