Last week in our discussion on monetizing the explosion of data, we had looked at the challenges imposed by the explosion of data and the need to re-think the existing architecture and take a holistic approach by integrating multiple silos into a cross-leveraged network infrastructure that delivers fair-play, tiered services supported by personalized premium & value-added options. Fundamentally this requires a new data-centric approach that builds the ability to distinguish & differentiate various use-cases, a dynamic policy control structure, and integration with real-time charging, self-care, payment & notification systems.
The new architecture opens up the opportunity to introduce new types of services, products that meet the diverse requirements of the growing connected society.
Introduction of new services, products & offers for a new breed of connected entities
With the advent of ultra-thick pipes (4G) and the available capacity, there’s a need to invent new services other than the traditional PSTN/Voice or Internet/Data services. The advent of the “Internet of Things”, Hyper-Social networking, and Machine-to-Machine communications are expected to be the emerging trends that will drive capacity utilization and monetization. However, this will also lead to a plethora of challenges in terms of adequate service management frameworks for the fulfillment, assurance, monitoring, and revenue management for these new breeds of services and connected entities.
A holistic approach to monetization through these new implementations would drive an expanded experience.
- Bundled Plans: Enabling plans that deliver simplicity, flexibility, and seamless experience. This could cover bundled data plans that allow a single data plan to be used across multiple devices, or bundled family plans that allow multiple family members to share a single plan and allocate portions of data use based on individual prioritizes.
- Differential Charging: Enable different levels of pricing for different types of users through different combinations of data speeds, volume limits, QoS guarantees, content & context-awareness. Segmentation could be done based on the type of end device or the type of data they use, or by the time of use or even by type of user or the type of service, & many other parameters.
- Premiums: Offer service quality guarantees (QoS or other parameters) to premium customers. This may require offering priority on the network ensuring better performance even under network congestion.
- Bundled Value Services: Offer value-added services for selected targets such as higher security levels for mission-critical applications or granular control for parents to manage children’s activities
- Dynamic Pricing: Use real-time network loading to offer time-limited discounts in specific geographical areas. This can help increase usage in minutes, increase engagement to develop loyalty, and reduce churn and help smooth traffic profile for higher network efficiency.
- Targeted Segment Pricing that simulates usage for specific segments. An example is Sachet Pricing that enables customers to purchase data access in small increments and has been used to stimulate the bottom of the pyramid customers.
- Event Triggering: Provide Real-time Notification & Change Options. Provide visibility on data speed and build in notifications in real-time to inform users when they reach data limit thresholds. Integrate new communication channels such as SN, chat, self-care, etc. Present an option to the user to upgrade to the desired level by payment of additional fees or other means. These options could be ad-hoc one-time Upgrade/Boost
- Loyalty Packages: Develop strong loyalty programs that combine flexible discounts, loyalty rewards, bonus points, marketing promotions, etc. that can be transferred for service upgrades. These could also be combined with specific occasions (such as birthdays) or events (such as high spend) or customer complaints. These could be offered through operator loyalty programs or 3rd party sponsored programs.
- Partner-driven Subsidies: Develop B2B/B2B2C models that allow pricing to be passed to a partner (such as a content provider) and offer subsidized or zero cost to the users.
The list is limited only by imagination. Innovation can play a significant role in building an evolved engagement with the user that is built on simplicity, flexibility, fairness, and attempts to improve the customer experience and maximize the utilization of network resources.