It's no surprise that mobile operators face many challenges today, namely diminished revenue opportunities and high performance expectations. I discussed these challenges with a group of representatives from EMEA mobile operators during a recent MeetTheBoss virtual roundtable. While we agreed that it's unrealistic to deliver 100% customer satisfaction across today's complex mobile networks, there are many ways in which mobile operators can improve performance, optimize costs and, ultimately, improve the customer experience. The bottom line is that mobile operators must balance performance with costs.
One of the bigger obstacles that mobile operators face in striking this balance is the influx of over-the-top (OTT) traffic. OTT services have, in many ways, spoiled subscribers in that they now expect the same level of performance for all of their mobile services as they do for fixed services. Digital literacy has certainly increased in the last decade, but most subscribers do not (and should not have to) know that delivering such a high quality of experience (QoE) for mobility services is incredibly complex. Therefore, subscribers are likely to become frustrated when performance dips.
At the same time, OTT services are largely fueling mobile traffic growth without increasing revenues for mobile operators. This broken equilibrium between demand and revenue is putting increased pressure on mobile operators, and driving a need for greater mobile network efficiency and stronger roadmap planning in order to control and reduce the cost of delivered mobile data services without compromising QoE.
In order to meet subscribers' expectations, mobile operators need to closely examine where their network investments will have the most tangible impact on customer satisfaction. Of course, customer satisfaction is multi-dimensional and cannot be measured with just one KPI; it may depend on who the user is, where they are located, what services they are using and many other factors. But, by segmenting customers and analyzing data from the mobile network end-to-end, mobile operators can get a very accurate understanding of where they need to invest in the network to optimize quality of service and the customer experience. At InfoVista, we call this “customer-aware, end-to-end network performance management.”