Big data and the global telecommunications industry are highly interconnected. The growth of mobile devices played a key role in the surge of big data, due the number of people who connected with the Internet via mobile devices. On the flip side, big data in telecommunications also means that big data is disrupting industry, especially in emerging telecom markets in eastern Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.
Big data in telecommunications is playing the biggest role by increasing the reach of major telecommunication brands in these markets. This is especially evident in Africa, where the telecommunications market growth has been the strongest.
In 2004, only 6% of African consumers owned a mobile device. This figure has grown sharply over the past 14 years. There are now over 82 million mobile users throughout the continent. In some regions in Africa, the growth has been faster than even the most ambitious technology economists could have predicted. The number of people in Nigeria that own mobile devices has been doubling every year.
Pairing big data and telecom has helped spur growth in the telecommunications industry in several ways. According to an analysis by NobelCom, this will likely lead to cheaper telephone calls between consumers in various parts of the world. Here are some of the biggest.
Identifying untapped markets for savvy telecommunications industry marketers
A growing number of telecommunications providers are investing more resources trying to reach consumers throughout Africa and other emerging telecom markets. In a white paper from Deloitte, Mark Casey, TMT industry for Africa, expressed surprise by the number of telecommunication acquisitions and advertisements that focus on reaching the growing middle class in Africa. Almost as many resources are dedicated to reaching customers in Middle Eastern and Asian markets.
However, while telecom companies have recognized the vast market potential in these regions as a whole, they understand that they need to take a more granular approach to their market penetration strategy. They must identify the micro-regions that have the strongest need for telecommunication services. Telecommunications companies can use big data to develop predictive analytics algorithms to forecast profitability of different areas they may intend to target, especially in emerging telecom markets.
These predictive analytics algorithms incorporate a variety of variables into their quantitative analysis, which include:
- Population growth
- Economic liberalization
- Pending trade compacts with other regions
- Financial alliances that are being formed with more established economic partners
- The level of unrest and threats of military aggression from other countries
- Improved access to education
- Likelihood of sanctions
Assessing all of these factors helps them gauge the amount of revenue they may generate by offering telecom services to consumers in these regions. This enables them to conduct risk-return analyses before launching campaigns in those areas. Since the risk-return analytics models they develop are based on inputs that can easily be converted into quantitative variables, they can be completed with algorithms on their own. This is another area where big data and telecom has proven to be a highly beneficial pairing.
Creating holistic, customized marketing campaigns
Telecommunications companies see many growth opportunities in developing regions. However, they also have to contend with a variety of challenges. One of the biggest struggles they face is coming up with effective marketing strategies for the various regions that they target.
Big data helps them develop a better understanding of customers in these areas, which enables them to customize their marketing strategies accordingly. However, the role of big data is not as direct in many of these regions as it is in the United States and Europe.
Telecommunications marketers won’t have the same depth of data on telecommunications customers, because many of them do not have dependable Internet connections or share nearly as much information on the Internet. Even if they do share detailed information about themselves, it is often in languages that most telecom companies don’t have translators for. Google Analytics and other online translation services are also less equipped to process it.
However, they don’t need data directly from customers to make nuanced marketing decisions. They can economic reports from government agencies in these regions, which can be an in valuable source of data.
Creating a greater incentive for consumers to purchase telecom services
Many telecommunication services leverage big data and telecom to offer better value to their global customers. This is true for companies offering their services to customers in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. By offering better service with big data, they are able to make their services more appealing, thereby increasing demand.