The mobile economy in the Middle East and North Africa has been undergoing massive growth over the past few years. By mid-2016, the number of unique subscribers across the MENA region had grown to 339m, accounting for 60% of the total population (GSMA: The Mobile Economy 2016). As the market has grown, my discussions throughout 2017 have become increasingly dominated by the need to retain subscribers and continually enhance their service via an in-depth understanding of their experience with the network.
A recent publication from Ernst & Young, outlining the key challenges and opportunities for Middle Eastern operators, has further highlighted this need. In a survey regarding ‘Most Significant Challenges,’ customer experience management was overwhelmingly voted as the highest strategic priority for operators in the next few years, a need largely characterised by the provision and improvement of digital customer services. Even with increased diversification into new growth structures, building an increasingly positive relationship with the customer is identified as the surest route to thriving in the era of digital.
The race to boost this relationship and understanding is accelerating across the telecommunications world. Speaking to an operator on a recent trip within the Gulf, we talked at length about the pressure across the industry to understand subscriber experience in the context of the activities they are actually performing. This includes surfing the web, streaming video, uploading to social media, upload, download and voice performance. In Morocco, regulators have been looking to implement new benchmarking initiatives focussed on assessing these subscriber-level experience metrics for the purposes of market transparency and operator accountability.
These are the types of metrics we have specialised in capturing for mobile operators with our Mobile Quality Application approach helping to collect, process and visualise data such as social media, call quality, and, with increasing popularity, YouTube streaming. For operators, the days of judging performance on network KPIs alone is fast becoming a distant memory as they look to contextualise network improvement programmes in terms of how they’ve improved their subscribers day-to-day activities.
In the case of video use, Ericsson recently pointed to mobile video consumption as a pivotal factor in a huge shift in how the media is used in the Middle East. Their study went on to highlight how video consumption in the region is actually becoming more popular than other parts of the world with over 70% of internet users with smartphones (in Saudi Arabia and the UAE) watching social media video clips at least once a week compared to 65% globally.
The popularity of mobile video specifically has had direct repercussions on network strategy for operators around the world with AT&T decommissioning all their 2G infrastructure in early 2017 to make way for more supportive data provision. In my hometown of Marrakech, it’s not just the locals placing a greater strain on bandwidth, but also the increasing numbers of tourists who will expect a suitable service for the pictures, videos and messages being transmitted to friends, family and social media. When it comes to assessing just how well these activities are actually working, operators may look to third party data providers to provide insight on performance. While useful for certain avenues of reporting, it ultimately lacks the fine grain information required by improvement teams to actually make a difference to performance.
By crowd sourcing a range of subscriber experience data via mobile applications for subscribers, we utilise our SmartTools to visualise this data within a geographic interface to provide insight into real-time network experience across your territory. Our approach has helped to identify rapid opportunities for network improvement, what activities are most popular with your subscribers, and where your resources should be targeted to bring about the strongest possible ROI. Combined with a web-based self-service page such as Service Checker, the application and web page can work together to not only pull in two sets of subscriber experience data, but also provide communication about the network directly to the user.
This all works to reduce the strain on your contact centre, enhance your digital footprint, create a powerful differentiator for your brand and supply a unique range experience data to your operations teams. Just a few great reasons to talk to Metricell today!
About the Author
Mohamed Alami is Metricell’s Sales Manager for the MENA regions and works directly with telecom operators and service providers to provide them with systems and software that support their business goals and drive enhanced insight into network operations and performance. Get in touch with Mohamed here.