Subscribers, subscribers, subscribers. In the telecommunications industry, the word “subscribers” is often at the center of the conversation, and for good reason. With mobile markets becoming more saturated, it's more important than ever for mobile operators to hold on to the subscribers that they already have.
It is during times of high mobile data traffic volumes, or while subscribers are using data-heavy applications, in which mobile operators' networks are put to the test. Their ability to ensure subscribers' quality of experience (QoE) is critical. For example, a year from now, in August 2016, Rio de Janeiro will be packed with fans from around the world cheering on their home country athletes in the Summer Olympics. Meanwhile, a few billion people will be watching the Games from elsewhere via applications on their laptops, smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices.
For subscribers, service degradation during this time could be considered more than just a minor annoyance. For a die-hard volleyball fan, for example, losing his or her mobile connection during the last few seconds of the final game, could be incentive enough to switch mobile operators. This, in itself, is bad news. But, what if this particular subscriber also happens to be the CEO of a large enterprise customer? Now, the individual is wondering if said mobile operator can be trusted to provide consistent mobile network connectivity for the business applications that his or her employees rely on daily.
With customer retention on the line, it's clear to see why subscriber satisfaction is so important. As such, mobile operators are beginning to re-think their service assurance practices that rely on traditional network performance management systems and pure network key performance indicators (KPIs). In particular, these network-centric practices do not allow mobile operators to discriminate which outages and network and service performance degradations are affecting high-profile VIP customers.
It's time mobile operators take a more comprehensive subscriber-focused approach, so that their service quality and network operations teams can properly track subscriber QoE and prioritize the network problems that are more relevant for these critical subscribers (and consequentially for the business). While this sounds trivial in principle, only a next-generation subscriber-centric network performance management system can really handle the sheer scale and technical complexity required to implement such approach.
Subscribers' appetite for mobile data is not subsiding anytime soon, nor are today's mobile networks becoming less complex. To not only rise to the 24/7 service quality challenge, and uncover new revenue opportunities in the process, mobile operators must adopt mobile network performance management strategies that meet and exceed the demands of today's subscribers.
Whether the mobile network is being relied on to watch the Olympics or to stream an important business presentation, there is very little room for error. A consistently high subscriber QoE will be paramount in minimizing subscriber churn, particularly among those subscribers that mean the most to your business.