Evolving Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq: EVOL), a leader in real-time digital engagement solutions and services, believes that 2019 will be a pivotal year for telcos transitioning to digital services-driven business models. The company’s leaders will address and respond to what they believe are the key trends at Mobile World Congress next week. Among the topics they will highlight are the following:
eSIM interoperability could become a reality in some markets, allowing subscribers to easily switch networks.
More consumers will adopt eSIM in 2019, improved consumer specifications will mean a better customer experience but the increased risk of churn (created by interoperability) will give rise to a clear focus on customer loyalty.
5G Continues to Develop
5G will continue to develop, moving past small test networks to a few mainstream offerings.
Although 5G may seem like just another generational upgrade for mobile networks, touting more speed and less latency than previous iterations, the years-long migration will require an expansion of cellular networks worldwide to include millions of new antennas that will become the backbone of IoT (Internet of Things) and its billions of sensor-laden devices, from smart dust to smart cars. 5G’s potential will be fulfilled and 2019 will be another step forward but progress will be incremental rather than overnight.
IoT Develops Momentum
IoT will develop momentum with profitable business becoming a reality and some level of consolidation occurring amongst the smaller players to achieve market share.
The industrial Internet of Things still feels like an emerging technology today, even though some industrial players have been working with related technologies for decades. The good news is that many analysts and industrial executives remain upbeat about the potential of IoT technology in the industrial realm. Yet, while the number of industrial IoT deployments is steadily growing, a number of challenges continue to exist, and many IoT projects remain in an early phase of development.
Customer Loyalty will be reincarnated for the digital age. Customer Loyalty is once again on the strategic agenda, finding a resurgence as brands try to hold on to valuable customers. The cost of loyalty infrastructure, that has historically held brands back from launching programs, is rapidly dropping because of cloud-based, digital solutions that are ‘light touch’; add to this the interesting opportunities that blockchain brings into the mix – enabling any enterprise to instantly participate in a digital value exchange ecosystem at low cost.
Content Becomes More Central
Content becomes more central to telco retention strategies as data becomes a commodity and telcos seek new methods of differentiation. Telcos are now almost seen as new media entities, with connectivity being essentially the starting point for everything that follows. With more data available at lower costs, coupled with the growing consumption of video, the search for exclusive content heats up in 2019. The larger telcos will seek to corner certain media assets, while the smaller telcos will need to tie up with media partners to ensure a steady flow of content keeps customers hooked.
Sales Channel Key Differentiation
The sales channel will become a key focus as differentiation continues to hone in on the service given. Digitization has made providing consistent, high-quality customer interactions a competitive differentiator, no matter the channel, meaning customer interaction is critical. In competitive telecom markets, product and price innovation is becoming very ‘yesterday’. The next frontier for strategic differentiation is customer interaction.
Increases in Smartphone Uptake
Further increases in smartphone uptake in the developing world will see innovations in that space and further drive for mobile money. We will see strong compound growth in the adoption of ‘mobile payment’ in its various forms. Traditional banking will increasingly focus on mobile as it offers enhanced levels of security / authentication over traditional payment methods. For mobile operators, particularly in the ‘emerging’ market, there is a huge opportunity in the FinTech space as evidenced by the strong revenue growth of Econet in Zimbabwe for example.
Now that voice and messages are unlimited and, as the price of data converges to zero dollars per gigabyte, operators are bundling mobile with all sorts of other products in order to maintain revenue. Watch for this trend to both continue and expand as the core service of providing connectivity fades into the background and a telco’s core asset becomes their ability to understand, engage, sell to and retain customers.