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What makes Communication Service Providers to “move with the cheese”?

Posted by: Balaji T S On September 19, 2016 07:50 PM

It is my habit to free up space by cleaning up files every now and then. A series of customer interactions, opportunities chased and consultations played out in my mind like the flashback, as I went through the several artifacts of the past 15 months.

One of the first scenes was about the inconsistent customer experience delivered and consequent fall in the NPS for a CSP. Their customers felt that their LTE network was not good. A little analysis revealed that this was because of the patchy nature of their LTE network which made the customers fall back to 3G or to EDGE network on a frequent basis. The Inter Technology transfer was also one of the prominent causes for call-drops.

The second scene of the flashback was preparing to deliver an advisory to an operator and pouring over their Financials and Operation KPIs. The operator was showing a manifold increase in site rentals and in many other operational parameters over previous years, usually indicative of network expansion. Standard Network KPIs did not show much of a variation although traffic seemed to have grown comparable to the OPEX components. The most stunning observation was that the revenue growth was in a low single digit percentage making me wonder about the ROI for the expansion!

A third and interesting flashback was another analysis effort which demonstrated a “saw-tooth” like variation in customer experience parameters! The quality of the network would deteriorate over some time when suddenly it would be corrected by injection of some additional network resources (capex) in specific locations. The time-period was not very alarming except that the frequency of the need for this correction could be seen as increasing. The cause we identified – there was a finite lead time to order, allocate and install the additional network resource. Because of cash flow constraints the operator was unable to preorder well-ahead of the need!

The fourth one –– was a blatant case of losses due to OTT alternatives available in the market. The only reason I could think of, without going into the details of the case, was that the OTT alternative was very nimble at bringing in new services compared to the standard fare from the operator who except bringing in new tariff bundles was not delivering new experiences at that pace.

I feel that each of these four points – The need to improve Customer Experience, the need to bridge the gap between traffic and revenues, the need for agility in network capacity planning (that is also easy on cash flows) and the need to be nimble in bringing new services are the top priorities of CSPs that are causing them to ‘move with the cheese’, to borrow a phrase from the best-seller book “Who Moved My Cheese?”.

Tags: Communication Services
 
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