Why operators need to capitalize on mobile data surge


Primarily powered by the world wide web and telecom operators networks, data is everywhere today, from our social media profiles, to the GPS location systems, medical records to financial systems, we are living in an age of data but affordability of data is still a big issue today at the end customer level.  

Mobility driven internet is gaining importance for end customers, on a daily basis. It is driving a set of applications such as education, banking, business enablement and powering enterprise to have next generation capabilities.

Speaking during a panel discussion on “Internet for all – Massive surge for data traffic redefining mobile landscape – opportunities for telcos” at the ongoing Convergence India, at New Delhi’s Pragati Maidan, industry leaders discussed about the present scenario of data surge and how it can be handled in a better manner.

“Internet is driving a lot of data and there is huge potential for growth. There is an opportunity of $ 14.4 trillion that can be driven from Internet over the next 10 years. The concept of Internet of Everything weaves everything in a common thread. In such a scenario, internet can not only connect people, but also processes, products and machines,” explained, Neeraj Arora, Director and Lead, Internet Business Solutions Group, Cisco.

Talking about the importance of creating better experience for end customers, Rajat Mukarji, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Idea Cellular, said that over the past many years, not many things have changed as far as basic telecom infrastructure is concerned.

“We still use handsets. It has a screen, a keypad and a battery. But what has changed is the way it is being built to have better capabilities. Today’s devices carry more battery life, pack in much more processing power and have super resolutions. So basically it is all coming down to creating better experience for the customers,” he added.

Talking about the growing cost of input towards providing data at the end user level, Vikram Tiwathia, Additional Director General, COAI, said that today operators are struggling to make data affordable for the end customers.

“There are many challenges here. Spectrum is quite expensive, power supply is not affordable, and there is an issue with right of way access. Additionally, now, we have this issue of investment by operators versus investment by OTT (Over The Top) players. All these issues need to be handled in a way so that the data affordability issue gets resolved at the customer end,” he added.

Moving forward, more and more operators need to quickly put in place, data-friendly technologies such as Wifi-offloading in order to strengthen their network, handle the data surge and create better value for the end customers.

Emphasizing that data surge is always good news for operators as well as the whole of telecom ecosystem, Rakesh Jain, CTO, Uninor said, “Technology is just one enabler but we are not ready. Compression of data is not the solution. The big question is, are the operators ready to be recognized as single point service providers for customers? Rightly analyzing and understand customer preferences becomes important here. Operators need right technology alignment for the customers. Today’s customer gets confused in 3G or 4G. We must talk in their language, the language of applications and services. Customer will always be the king.”

As customers want data which is meaningful, it is clear that they are not interested in technology jargons but applications, use-cases and services that can add value to their daily lives. Operators must drive home advantage of better backhaul techniques and next generation offloading in order to deliver data affordability at the hands of end customers.

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