2013 saw service providers under serious pressure to differentiate themselves from competitors and deliver innovative new services, whilst also striving to simplify the customer experience, harness big data and optimise operations.
Service providers have realised the true ‘power of the network’ in terms of generating revenue and improving the customer experience. Moving into 2014 operators are going to continue to invest to differentiate themselves in the market by investing in network infrastructure and consolidating their businesses to make sure they play a central role in the ‘connected world’ ecosystem.
My top three trends for 2014 are –
- Consolidation: Pressure from market saturation, increased competition, the search for new growth engines, and economic conditions, are driving service providers to rationalise their business and to consolidate. In the first half of 2013, M&A deals worth around €60 billion were announced in Europe's telecoms market, almost double the volume in the same period last year, and we will see further growth in 2014
- Big Data: While 2013 saw service providers tackling the operational challenges of managing big data, 2014 will see service providers start to shift towards realising the value of big data, and using it to help with internal and external data monetisation. This will also allow for a more seamless customer experience where consumers can expect a more personalised service such as sending proactive alerts to customers when they’re reaching data limits or offering deals by partnering with their favourite retailer
- Networks: In 2014, we anticipate service providers will make the shift from LTE roll outs to monetising and optimising their major network investments. They will look to combine efficient deployment with innovative pricing strategies and a rich portfolio of services. This is something we have started to see in 2013 with Vodafone offering access to Sky Sports TV or Spotify Premium. Service providers will focus more on deployments of small cells, Wi-Fi offload and leveraging SON (Self optimising network) technologies to optimise their network investments
Other growth areas and trends include issues around omni-channel experience, growth of wearable devices, mobile financial services, SMB and enterprise, next generation TV experience and virtualisation.
Michal Harris is the Director of Market Insight and Strategy at Amdocs.