India Shifts Toward CEM

Ray Le Maistre
3/27/2012

9:30 AM -- Now that the days of massive monthly mobile subscriber growth are behind it and mobile number portability services are available and being used by more than 2 million people each month, India's mobile sector is turning its attention swiftly toward customer experience as operators look for ways to hang on to their prime customers and generate greater revenues from their existing subscribers. (See Bharti's Recipe For Network Success and Customer Experience Management: The Next Frontier.)

At the Convergence India 2012 event in New Delhi recently, Light Reading talked with Amdocs Ltd. (NYSE: DOX), NICE Systems and Nokia Networks about where, in their view, India's operators are right now with their customer experience management (CEM) engagements.

And while all three executives we spoke with agreed that CEM is now much higher on the agendas of the country's mobile operators, they all had something different to say.

To watch the Light Reading TV video about CEM in India, see Customer Experience Momentum.

Others, of course, are also targeting CEM as a potential growth sector in India. (See AlcaLu Sets Out Its India Vision.)

What's important, in my view, is that the operators preparing to their use Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) spectrum to offer Long Term Evolution Time Division Duplex (LTE TDD) services in India in the coming years -- including Aircel Ltd. , Bharti Airtel Ltd. (Mumbai: BHARTIARTL), and the state-owned operators Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd. (MTNL) -- should implement a CEM strategy and deploy the relevant Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT) capabilities (analytics tools, etc.) now.

That way they can get to work on retaining 3G customers and have a CEM strategy in place for the introduction of LTE services, where the cost of "customer acquisition" and average revenue per user (ARPU) rates will likely be higher, making it even more important to attract and hold on to the most valuable data/video services users.

Bharti Airtel has already made its move, having turned to NSN for assistance. (See Bharti's New Experience.)

Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL) , which is the only company with BWA spectrum throughout all of India's 22 "circles" (service areas), doesn't have existing services around which it can build a CEM strategy. As a greenfield BWA operator, RIL can only prepare the best it can, but it shouldn't wait until it has launched to consider its CEM strategy -- that could be fatal.

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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