When we think of emerging markets, we often tend to think they are behind the times, busy playing catch-up with developed nations. While this may in fact be the case for traditional fixed telecoms infrastructure, it is certainly not true for today’s extensive mobile networks. In fact, when it comes to mobile data plans and charging, developed nations can learn a lot from emerging markets.
Emerging markets are extremely data hungry, creating a huge market opportunity for mobile network operators (MNOs). At the same time, operators in emerging markets face less-stringent industry regulations than those in developed countries. With less emphasis placed on issues such as net neutrality, operators can instead focus primarily on creating and delivering the most attractive products aimed at providing high quality of experience (QoE).
Under these conditions, it is no surprise that we are seeing increased market competition and product differentiation in emerging markets. Such competition ultimately benefits the users, providing more choice for customers when it comes to mobile pricing plans and value-added services.
However, it’s not only the customers who are benefiting from this arrangement, but operators as well benefit from the hyper-competitive landscape that characterizes emerging markets.
We’ve seen a number of extremely innovative use cases come out of emerging markets like Latin America, Africa and Asia. Operators in these regions are employing tools to analyse data usage on their networks and are using that intelligence to roll out personalised service packages tailored to customers. Such plans include tiered services, top-up options, data caps, application-based charging and zero rating. These use cases put the customer at the center of the marketing strategy, contributing to increased satisfaction and helping reduce customer churn. Most importantly, the introduction of innovative charging plans inherently work to generate more revenue and profit for the operator.
Driven by higher data usage, increased smartphone usage, and more demand for broadband services, mobile broadband will continue to be a huge revenue growth area for operators all over the world over the next several years. Regulations aside, operators in developed markets would be wise to adapt the customer centric approaches being undertaken by those in emerging markets. Those who successfully tap into their customer base and create appealing and personalized pricing packages will remain a step ahead of the competition. They will, in turn, reap the rewards of increased customer loyalty and will be well-positioned to achieve higher service revenue.
Jonathon Gordon is AVP Marketing at Allot Communications, based in Israel