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Policy + charging

What 4G Players Want for Christmas

1:20 PM -- It's still too early to know just how the widespread introduction of 4G services will affect the telco market, but it appears to be having at least one positive effect -- it appears to be making service providers think strategically about customer experience, something that (for the most part) has been seen as a painful cost burden rather than a business imperative.

Signs that mobile operators are now seeing a positive correlation between improved customer experience and improving margins (even if money has to be spent!) comes today in the results of a service provider survey conducted by Heavy Reading on behalf of Amdocs Ltd. (NYSE: DOX).

The survey results are to be found here -- Amdocs Unveils 4G Service Research -- so there's no need for me to repeat them. The key takeaway, though, is that service providers see a real need to cater to the individual needs of 4G customers so those customers can be kept happy and be kept aware, as they consume data services, what impact this is having on their allowances.

This sounds like common sense but, unfortunately, most operators have only paid lip service to proper customer experience to date. With any luck the business model imperatives associated with 4G will change that.

What's clear, though, is that if 4G service providers want to offer better levels of personalized services they need to invest. And not just in their physical networks: they need to spend some hard cash on the Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT) systems that will enable them to get smart. Of course, this is something we've been banging on about for a few years now. (See The SPIT Manifesto 2.0.)

And, of course, Amdocs is a major SPIT player, so it has used the results of the survey to shout about the policy control and charging capabilities it has under its corporate hood.

What's key about all this, though, is that the 4G operators don't just play at being better, smarter operators but actually match their wishful thinking with some cold, hard analysis of how exactly they can improve the lot of their customer base and back that up with some cash injections.

If they do, then it's just possible that by Christmas 2013 they might just get the ultimate gift -- satisfied customers who trust and like their 4G service provider. Let's see what the technology elves can do....

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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