Big Data

Telcos 'Asleep at the Wheel' on Big Data

Communications service providers are "asleep at the wheel" when it comes to analyzing and monetizing the data they have at their fingertips, according to an industry expert who has worked at the cutting edge of telecom analytics developments.

Mike Sherman, the former head of L!ving Analytics, Group Digital Life, at Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. (SingTel) (OTC: SGTJY), told conference delegates at the recent Broadband World Forum in Amsterdam that telcos are "sitting on a goldmine," but that many have yet to figure out how best to capitalize on their information assets.

Telcos could make real gains in generating revenues from the information they hold by developing partnerships with "transaction specialists" such as credit card companies and banks, in order to source and make use of transaction data, instead of just relying on the demographics information that is their default approach, says Sherman.

Most of the data that telcos are trying to monetize is "demographics, and that is limited in its use," Sherman noted. "If I was looking for third-party data, I would be wanting to talk to transaction companies, because they are the ones who know what people buy, not just where they shop."

Need to know more about big data analytics and its impact on communications service providers? Then check out the agenda for Telecom Analytics World 2014, November 11, at the Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta.

Sherman added that telcos need to think about their customers and their approach to using data in a different way: "We need to get away from using data behind people's backs," he noted. "If you offer people the opportunity to have a better experience and receive the information they want," then they'll opt in to receive the information and services that drive revenues, such as ads.

Telcos are desperate to identify and develop new sources of revenues, so getting to grips with big data analytics and figuring out business strategies using new tools and systems is high on the agenda of many service providers, which have been delving into the world of data warehousing and analytics for several years already and finding ways (mostly) to cut costs. (See Telcos Warm to Big Data and Big Data Saves T-Mobile Big Bucks.)

All this month, Light Reading will be taking a close look at analytics developments as they relate to communications service providers, as our very own Sarah Reedy explains in this video blog: Defining Big Data & Telco Analytics.

For more insights into the world of big data and telecom analytics, see:

— Ray Le Maistre, Circle me on Google+Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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mendyk 11/4/2014 | 8:50:43 AM
Re: Opportunity The case can be made that almost no one knows what to do with the massive volumes of data being collected.
MikeP688 11/4/2014 | 7:48:41 AM
Re: Opportunity Wouldn't you agree that the biggest challenge is privacy--since the issue of trust was discussed?    We're already subject to immense data mining as it is--how much more?  
MikeP688 11/4/2014 | 7:47:18 AM
Re: Opportunity @DHagar:  As I look forward to your insights, I would be particiuarly keen to see your broader definition of what you view as "usable customer data".   Does this, for instance, include browsing history?  That, for instance, will open up all kinds of challenging privacy questions--wouldn't you agree?

MikeP688 11/4/2014 | 7:45:17 AM
Re: Opportunity @macster: We know Data is the king--no question.    Since you noted your own experience and views, the question is what would you do?    What would you do differently than say the Facebook & Twitter's of the World that own a "stream" and are leveraging the data and growing like crazy in the Mobile Space?   
macster 11/4/2014 | 4:25:35 AM
Re: Opportunity The thing is.....

Telcos just don't know what to do with these data. They haven't got a clue! Be it network data or customer-centric data, they simply don't know what to do. I say this from experience.




jya 11/4/2014 | 3:39:59 AM
Re: Opportunity Yes, apart from reputation wrt being custodians of personal data, data privacy laws may also be a constraining factor.

Also, perhaps the view so far of data being a competition to voice revenue, and being treated as a uniform commodity maybe a limiting factor. Instead of being analyzed as a source of revenue and business models. Maybe telcos need to stop thinking/looking only at being the "pipe".
R Clark 11/3/2014 | 10:06:29 PM
Re: Opportunity It's definitely a clear opportunity for telcos, and the way forward is obviously to partner as Sherman says. Surveys usually show telcos as one of the most trusted custodians of personal data; the fear of a reputational hit is probably one reason for the slow response. The bigger reason is that operators invariably are slow to latch on to these business trends.
DHagar 11/3/2014 | 9:39:56 PM
Re: Opportunity danielcawrey, I totally agree.  The ability to provide usable customer information that provides real insight, and/or consumer sementation, could open up an entire new opportunity for them.

Ray and Sarah are right on track.  I will look forward to more insights on this over the coming month.
danielcawrey 11/3/2014 | 5:30:53 PM
Opportunity I would think that telcos should try to take advantage of this tremendous opportunity in big data. Since they are brokering a lot of data between clients and servers, they should already have the infrastructure in place to provide new products and services that big organizations need.

If they wake up, of course!
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