Monday, April 23, 2012

[Guest post]: Monetizing a $3 Trillion Industry – Mobile Data Means Business

By Lyn Cantor*, President, Tektronix Communications 

Social media properties such as Twitter, Facebook and even Google have dominated the headlines of the world’s media. Despite the valuation of Facebook at $100 billion in its recent IPO, this figure pales into insignificance when compared to the estimated value of the global mobile telecoms industry - $3 trillion. This underlines the sheer scale of the wireless market. An image has been cultivated in the global media that mobile operators are being overrun by OTT players, riding roughshod over their networks for free. Amid diminishing ARPU figures and an increasingly challenging global market – the situation appears grim for mobile operators. However, with $3 trillion worth of assets, I believe the industry is at the top of its game and has the right mix of elements in place to spark exponential growth; dwarfing other established industries.

Mobile data – a boost for operators

Mobile operators spanning the globe have, in fact, been buoyed by the increased mobile data usage that social media and OTT players have generated for them. Indeed, the next challenge for operators will be how to monetise this traffic, or at the very least, introduce new business models in which they can generate a significant portion of revenue from their delivery. Mobile operators will be assisted in this process by their access to the richest vein of data that any business in the world could wish for. Each day, millions of voice calls, messages and data sessions, among other information, pass over the world’s mobile networks. This gold mine of data holds the key to carriers’ prolonged and extensive growth. Operators’ network information enables them to build up a wealth of customer information deriving context such as location, demographics, values, lifestyle and even the opinion of their end-users. Operators can now use this ‘customer lifecycle’ data as the foundation for applications and services for a new breed of ARPU data subscriber - who is willing to pay for their personalised experience.

Information is power

By leveraging information from multiple technology domains across their networks, operators can formulate sustainable business models focused around the delivery of mobile data. For example, operators can see, in real-time, quality of services and service usage at the end-user level – right down to the performance of the handset. This level of granular insight can form the basis for informed business decisions by an operator. For example – this high value information can be fed into the marketing and other customer facing functions in an operator. This data can form the basis for the development of a range of targeted and highly personalised services and applications. These flexible services can be tuned to meet the exacting needs of differing demographics in the subscriber base. This level of customer intimacy allows operators to truly deliver on their promises to subscribers – and this ultimately translates into higher revenues and profit margins.

The challenges of mining data

Having access to the right data at the right time is not an easy task – given the patchwork of technologies that makes up modern mobile networks. Network technologies have become more complex with the move to all IP networks. But as networks develop they are required to deliver mobile broaband and data services in a relaible and high quality fashion. Network environments are complex and are now made up of countless elements, interfaces and protocols. It is key for operators to be able to harness all of this disparate data and turn it into meaningful and actionable strategic information. This requires network measurement tools that can access, collect and analyse all of the information that is held in the network.

Tools like this can help mobile operators to understand the impact of the OTT providers on their business - as well as their networks. Critically such tools enable operators to monetise the data they hold and charge OTT players that want to access it. The volume, and types of data, transported by mobile networks is growing exponentially. By leveraging network measurement tools, operators can not only optimise and monetise traffic; but also ensure their networks are as cost efficient as possible by using information mined form the network to make informed resourcing decisions.

Bolstering service uptake

Operators continually seek ways to up-sell and cross-sell services – but in order to do this successfully, operators need to fully understand users’ quality and usage patterns. In the past this has been something that operators have had limited ability to do. However, the detailed information they can derive from network measurement tools; empowers operators to directly align their customer resources with their customer needs.

The advent of LTE will provide operators with an even greater insight into their customers behaviour. Intelligence from LTE networks on the types of services and the experience of users is very compelling. Operators can now sieze the opportunity and convert data from their network into bottom line profitability.

The attention of the media and the markets continues to focus on the likes of Apple, because of the stylish form factors of its products, and Facebook, as it is poised for an IPO. But while social media brands grab the headlines; operators are happy to work in the background developing innovative business models, using network data that social media properties simply don’t have access to, to open a series of lucrative new revenue streams. It seems the $3 trillion mobile industry is on the up – despite the contrary headlines in the world’s media.


*Lyn Cantor was appointed President of Tektronix Communications last April. He re-joined the company after being SVP and General Manager of Visual Network Systems (VNS). Prior to his appointment at VNS, Lyn was VP of Worldwide Sales, Service and Marketing at Tektronix Communications. Over the course of his 27 year career, of which 14 years have been with Tektronix Communications, Lyn has held various vice president positions in Americas sales, global channels, product management and marketing; in addition to being a general manager.


  1. Lets us use the advantages of technologies today. Internet may help us to step ahead in our daily lives.

  2. telemarketing - Inbound, outbound, Research, Appoinment Setting & more.
    Website Design - If you want a professional site there are some points you need to know.
    Seo & Social Media - Break through the noise of the internet & get your meesage out.
    Social Media & Traffic Management