Mobile operators face digital dilemma, survey finds

Tecnotree Corporation
Press Release
19th February, 2016 at 8.30 am EET

Investment in digital is required to remain competitive and boost revenues, but research reveals operators are slow off the mark

  • 75 per cent of mobile operators have noticed an increase in ARPU from digital or digital content services over the last 12 months
  • 89 per cent admit that OTT and other digital content providers can rollout new services in just 1-6 months
  • However, 31 per cent say they take, on average, at least one year from identifying a new digital or digital-content service to fulfilling it with their customers
  • 69 per cent expect to see an increase in the usage of digital and digital-content services from customers traveling to Europe, as a result of EU roaming legislation 

Global provider of telecom IT solutions, Tecnotree, today reveals telling statistics outlining the digital dilemmas that mobile operators currently face. The survey of 46 global mobile operators conducted by mobilesquared demonstrates the value of embracing digital, as 75 percent of respondents have noticed an increase in ARPU from these services over the last 12 months. However, mobile operators need to play catch up. An overwhelming 89 percent admit that OTT and other digital content providers can rollout new services in just 1-6 months, while nearly a third say it takes at least a year for them to do the same.

What’s more, demand for these services is only set to increase. 69 percent of operators expect to see a rise in the usage of digital and digital-content services from customers travelling to Europe, as a result of EU roaming legislation.

Timo Ahomäki, CTO, Tecnotree said: “In this digital era, the need to innovate has never been more important. While traditional telco competitors are still a concern for mobile operators, OTT providers, spearheaded by the likes of Facebook, Netflix and Square, that are far quicker to market with new services, pose a bigger threat. In order to better compete in the race, operators must transform into a digital service provider. This involves a much higher level of customer interaction, with greater quality of service and quicker delivery.”

However, the research reveals several blocks to digital transformation, which have many parallels to a similar survey carried out by the two companies in 2013. Almost half of mobile operators still need to update various legacy Business and Operational Support System (BSS) infrastructures every time they want to deliver new digital services to their customers. And, just 21 percent have made the move to fully integrate billing functions within their digital product set. However, the time it takes to replace all, or significant parts, of the stack with a new BSS present a further challenge with 37 percent of mobile operators saying it takes at least a year.

Customer profiling brings additional hurdles. Nearly half of respondents believe an off-the-shelf product enables faster time-to-market in offering digital and digital-content services. While they recognise the importance of providing a personalised service package, or product catalogue that is more relevant to customers, 30 percent of mobile operators say that CRM & profiling issues are the biggest barriers to achieving this and although to a lesser extent, was identified by respondents as an issue in the 2013 survey too.  It requires among other things, a different approach to data analytics. Rather than relying on ‘traditional’ big data approaches only, they need to concentrate more on 'small' or 'smart’ real-time  transactional data in order to keep customers engaged.

Timo Ahomäki concluded: “Mobile operators have their work cut-out to overcome the digital challenges of today. Customer profiling and the number and complexity of legacy billing systems are the biggest issues to contend with.  Three years ago, operators told us the exact same thing, along with problems around cost and integration of separate BSS/OSS, and yet it seems not much progress has been made to rectify this. Operators therefore require more agile approach to their IT systems as well as access to smarter data in order to seek digital transformation.”

Finally, in identifying which digital services they believed would offer the most value for them in the next twelve months, operators identified M2M (38%), video on-demand services (38%) and TV (36%).

About the survey

The online survey comprised 29 questions and was open between January 19th and February 1st. A total of 46 operators participated in the survey with 39 completing. Job functions included CMOs, COOs, CTOs, Managing Directors, Marketing Managers, Product Managers, Strategic Planning, Business Development and Value Management. A total of 64% of respondents had their main area of business in Europe, followed by 18% in the Middle East, 8% in Latin America and 5% each from North America and Africa.

To see the full executive summary of the research, please contact the Tecnotree press office using the details below.


Emma Hotston / Laura Scott
Liberty Communications
tel. +44 2077514444

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About mobilesquared
mobilesquared provides intelligence and insight on the mobile sector. We’ve been analysing the mobile space for two decades, so our expertise has been earned, not learned. Our instinctive ability to ask the right questions uncovers invaluable nuggets of insight, which we interpret to help shape truly effective strategy for our clients. Our experience is recognised by the industry — we sit on judging panels for the prestigious GSMA Awards, EMMA awards, and the MEFFYs.

About Tecnotree
Tecnotree is a global provider of telecom IT solutions for the management of products, customers and revenue. Tecnotree helps communications service providers to transform their business towards a marketplace of digital services. Tecnotree empowers service providers to monetise service bundles, provide personalised user experiences and augment value throughout the customer lifecycle. With around 1000 telecom experts, Tecnotree serves around 90 service providers in around 70 countries. Tecnotree is listed on the main list of NASDAQ Helsinki with the trading code TEM1V. For more information on Tecnotree, please visit


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