Telecoms operators ranked better digital leaders than you think

digital leaders
Image credit: Monster Ztudio |

A new consumer survey from Digital BSS provider Openet makes for interesting and encouraging reading. Telecoms operators, it turns out, are ranked higher for their digital leadership than many companies that you immediately think of when it comes to thinking ‘digital’.

While operators do not beat the big tech companies such as Apple, Amazon and Google, they fair better than Spotify, eBay and Uber.

In fact, more than two thirds of consumers believe their operator to be a ‘digital first’ company. And telecommunications itself was ranked 4th in digital leadership as an industry.

The survey that supports these findings was carried out in July this year, by consumer research house Sapio. They questioned 1,620 consumers in the Americas, Europe and Asia.

Not only do the majority of consumer consider their operator as digital first but 32% of them digitally interact with their operator on a daily basis and the majority of respondents believe that their operator has a strong, clear brand.

What will be extremely satisfying for operators is how many of them have been struggling with digital transformation programmes, in many cases to little apparent effect.

As Openet CEO, Niall Norton puts it, “to achieve digital parity with many of the world’s most recognisable technology brands underlines the significant progress mobile operators have made and the global operator community most certainly had some catching up to do.” It seems that they have caught up better than most industry observers could have expected, or hoped.

Oddly, perhaps, the most encouraging news from the survey is what consumers expect from their operator and the answer is not, as you might expect ‘no, I’m fine as long as the connection is good.’

Far from it, the majority do not believe that their operator is on a par with their utility providers and 65% of them would be open to new digital offerings from them.

We know from previous experience and conferences that operators are benefitting from partnerships with digital service providers (music, film, games, sports) and 64% said that good partnerships are the reason that they stay loyal to the brand.

While all of this is good news for operators, obviously there is a lot of work still to do. Ever stronger partnerships, a move away from ‘telco’ thinking and of course the advent of 5G will provide an array of opportunities.

Let us hope that operators can continue to take advantage of them.

The paper, as usual, is a good and useful insight into the market, this time the consumer aspect. It is available here, and is free.

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