Big data a growing opportunity for telco firms

The ability to accurately gather large amounts of information and apply big data analytics tools to gain insight from this is set to be one of the next big trends for the telco industry, with the growth of mobile presenting both challenges and opportunities for these firms.

This is according to ABI Research, which forecast that by 2019, worldwide mobile traffic will hit 200 exabytes – or 200 million terabytes. As a result of this, mobile network operators (MNOs) will be collecting huge amounts of information about their customers.

If studied correctly, this could provide useful details on areas such as customer experience and behavior, as well as network performance. Understanding this will therefore play an essential role in improving decision-making in order to generate more revenue, stand out from the competition, and build on customer quality of experience (QoE).

Sabir Rafiq, research analyst at ABI, said: "MNOs and communication service providers are actively looking into big data and analytical solutions. They need tools that can impact their businesses and find new ways to reduce costs, improve efficiency of the networks, increase and generate new revenue streams, and increase QoE."

He added key factors in creating successful data analytics solutions for telcos include the ability to easily identify the key data sets, which will be imperative in separating out the most important data from the vast array of surrounding noise generated by everyday mobile activities. Being able to extract these points efficiently and maintain relevancy will also be crucial to quality data analytics programs.

"The most successful implementations will start with a clear understanding of the project goals and will be tailored to individual needs," ABI stated. "It is imperative that telcos and telecom providers understand that it is not one-size-fits-all, but they take a more customer-defined and results-driven approach."

Last month it was also noted by the Intelligence Annual Industry Survey that improving customer retention is seen by telco companies as the most useful benefit of big data, with six out of ten operators naming this as a high priority.