The age of partnerships is here, as long as we can use the data

By denisismagilov / Adobe Stock

It seems possible, almost plausible, to believe that we are entering a golden age of partnerships. About two years ago operators realised that the digital service providers, who until that point were the nasty ‘OTT players’ were better friends than foe.

They had better brand value, they commanded more loyalty and they were, let’s face it, just plain sexier. This was due to the fact that what they did was sell fun, useful products and services. Of course, they took revenue away from operators, but they also held out great potential.

The first experiments at partnering were simply based on reducing churn, and there really wasn’t a revenue road map involved. We began to see operators offering zero rated music, video, sports and apps. ePlus in Germany offered free WhatsApp to prepaid customers, Orange offered free Spotify and Vodafone went with a video play.

Now, though, real revenue opportunities are beginning to emerge.

A recent Openet webinar, based on their white paper, presented some examples. Three in the UK launched ‘Go Binge’, presumably inspired by T-Mobile’s Binge On in the US, Virgin offers free tweets and very recently carriers in the States were all reportedly courting HBO in order to offer the service for free, data-wise.

Other examples presented included pushing customers to upgrade their plans in order to receive ‘free’ services, such as a sports package. Digi in Malaysia is an example of an operator not only driving extra revenue through offering premium video for a little extra money, but also building loyalty by offering a zero rated music service to customers who have been with them for six months or more.

The point, now, according to Openet, is to build better joint offerings and to do that requires some radical approaches. The BSS must be transformed to allow the greater flexibility needed to ‘develop, deliver and monetise new digital services’. This, alongside ‘faster time to market for new services’ were the top answers in a survey carried out by the company into why operators are upgrading their BSS.

One key aspect to this transformation is actually opening up the BSS to partners. If this is done in a controlled way, so that partners can gain access to the offer catalogue, then products and services can be designed in a collaborative environment, and each product can be improved, based on feedback from multiple data sources.

And now that these collaborative tools are available to the business side of the house, a virtuous circle will evolve, more trust will be created and more innovative products and services will appear.

As long as we can use the customer’s data, of course.

This article was created in partnership with Openet

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Alex Leslie
About Alex Leslie 76 Articles
Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet. He is publisher at DisruptiveViews.

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