Big Data and the Transformation of the Telcom Industry

As early as a few years ago, telecom providers would be horrified at the thought of doing anything other than securing and protecting their data assets, and had no answer if you asked them about their data strategy.  Concerns about reputation and regulation inhibited the pursuit of data innovation, and telcos seemed to be missing the data opportunities that were there.

But innovation in the telecom industry does exist, and operators are now aggregating and analyzing network traffic to provide insights to optimize their own processes or provide services to other enterprises.

Telcom Data for Use, Worldwide

In the land down under, Telstra worked with the Sydney airport to analyze its traffic congestion at their location.  Using anonymous network data, Telstra mapped out where usage had come from to help identify specific patterns.  The outcome came as the knowledge that it wasn’t the passengers causing the backups, it was the staff.  The patterns indicated that certain drivers arrived at the same time every day, and they were the ones causing the congestion problems.  So they implemented staggered staffing and off-site employee parking as a solution to alleviate the problem.

Neuquén, Argentina, and its neighboring cities have designed a mobility map based on movement flows of people in the city using Telefónica’s network data.  They then used this to develop an organized transportation plan, enriched with demographic and behavioral information, thus providing a valuable public service with the help of Telefónica.

For Posterscope, an outdoor advertiser in Singapore, they have leveraged mobility intelligence from Singtel’s DataSpark to plan campaigns in specific locations.  Singtel provides anonymous and aggregated insights that help advertisers better understand the individuals who are passing by an advertising location and place ads that are more relevant to audiences that see them.  Think the targeted ads from Minority Report, and realize this how all that started.

Those examples use network data, but operators have also been able to derive value from their individual customer data as well.  That’s what some of these telco operators have done at the request of the subscribers themselves.  A consortium of O2, T-Mobile, and Vodafone in the Czech Republic formed the basis of a telco credit risk scoring service by using billing history when a subscriber doesn’t have credit history through a financial institution.  The consent-based service uses usage, contract, as well as payment data.  Subscribers can also opt into a fraud detection service that Telefónica offers.  This allows banks to verify location whenever the subscriber’s credit card is used.

Innovation is Still Innovation

These are just examples that illustrate the innovation of some telecom operators that recognize the opportunity that their data assets offer and the value they can bring to their customers.  The technology and data-powered solutions that they provide for their customers have transformed these telecom operators to become insights service providers.