CSP history is one of providing infrastructure, so there’s no shame in being a bit slow to create products that aren’t sold as infrastructure. Today’s market is forcing that to change, but it means there’s opportunity for CSPs to create attractive products and use their infrastructure capabilities as differentiators. If analytics are applied correctly, the pieces could come together.
“We don’t have to play this game of one size fits all anymore; we can be more intelligent than that,” says Sandro Tavares, Head of Customer Experience Management Solutions Marketing for Nokia Siemens Networks. Tavares says the analytics and policy control capabilities are available today to understand at a granular level what customers do and when they do it, and thereby make smart offers at the right time. “Five years ago networks were not able to create this kind of differentiation or implement the policies to make this happen,” Tavares says. Understanding context, and having the ability to reach customers in-session, are advantages derived from owning the infrastructure.
Another is the ability to bake infrastructure services right into application-based products. For example, if a customer subscribes to an OTT video service and accesses it via 3G or 4G mobile, it eats away at a 2GB data cap pretty fast. The operator can detect that and offer its own OTT-style video service with data consumption baked-in so that it doesn’t touch the 2GB cap. Plus, that video service can span multiple domains, giving a structure for creating one data subscription that comprises home, public WiFi, and mobile broadband access. The same kind of baked-in offers can apply to services like Facebook, Skype, and OnLive (gaming and mobile productivity). “This is a natural partnership model,” Tavares argues.
The concept of contextual targeting was proven in Africa, Tavares explains. Africa’s mobile market is ultra-competitive and many customers “have SIMs from each operator and refill the one that gives them the best offer,” Tavares says. By understanding when, where, and with how much money individual customers tend to refill their SIMs, operators have been able to deliver special, targeted offers in context and at the right time. “This kind of targeting has allowed operators to grow uptake on their offers by 160 percent,” says Tavares.
Nokia Siemens plays in the analytics, policy control, and charging arenas involved in these service models. But, says Tavares, the important thing is for service providers to understand what they can “learn about the customer” and allow that to “define what you sell.”