This year will certainly be an interesting year – besides the worldwide trend of more bandwidth to users through network densification, from our perspective in Africa the networks will continue their expansions, but place much more emphasis on increasing their return from customers.
ARPU is becoming a misnomer as more people have multiple devices, so perhaps average revenue per device (ARPD) is the new metric. Whatever the case, consumer ARPU is dropping and costs are not. Operators will focus on improving consumers’ general Quality of Experience beating out the competition with better quality and better—not necessarily wider—coverage, this means better call completion ratios, fewer dropped calls, fixing coverage holes and less congestion to allow users more usable bandwidth.
However, the real revenue improvement for operators will however come from targeting enterprises with higher value services. This will mean targeting specific verticals, and developing in in-house abilities to deliver high value and secure enterprise services, from simple bandwidth and voice, to VPN, Security, data centre and a XaaS (e.g., software-as-a-service, Infrastructure-as-a-service) via the Cloud. This will not be easy, but with bandwidth availability constantly increasing in Africa, and the general lack of available Enterprise Services, the continent is ready and hungry for this.
Tunde Hussain is the Technical Marketing Manager at Aviat Networks.