TELECOM & INTERNET | Contributed Content, Singapore
Aditi Kohli

Harnessing data to unlock new customer segments in the telecom sector


Mobile data usage in Singapore has seen a steady increase in the last three years - from 7.91 petabytes in 2014 to over 13.31 petabytes in 2017. Whilst Singapore has always has had a high mobile penetration rate (151%), the main driving factor behind this staggering growth in data usage has been the increase in usage per subscriber, from 0.9 GB to approximately 1.6 GB in March, 2017.

From the telco’s perspective, voice is no longer the leader and data’s contribution to the revenue now stands at 50%. For example, in the US, 66% of 18-24 year olds prefer online viewing to any other mode of consuming content.

Research shows that the main reason for this drastic upsurge in the data usage is driven by the evolution and immense popularity of content providers, such as Netflix. People are spending more and more time on content streaming and entertainment apps on their smartphones.

In a recent study, it was found that an easy access to increasing bandwidths and falling cost of the Internet connectivity has been a further reason for the increase in content consumption. It was also found that an average Internet user watches about 1.6 hours of video content daily in APAC. Of these viewers, Singaporeans lead the brigade by consuming at an average of 2 hours of content every day.

Tapping into the consumer behavior
This consumer behavior has created a brand new and fantastic monetisation opportunity for telecom players, who are trying to capture this audience segment. To be able to build on this wave, it is critical for these players to tap into the following two categories of subscribers:

Category A, those who have already shown an increase in their consumption patterns.
Category B, those who are yet to catch up and exhibit a similar increase in consumption in the future.

Whilst identifying the consumers in Category A and devising product offerings for them is easy for operators, it is Category B that presents the major challenge, and where the future money will come from. To capitalise on this category, telcos need to correctly identify these potential consumers early on, spot the increase in content stickiness, and reach out to them at the right time and right place with relevant strategies and cutting-edge data analytics measures in place.

Also, using predictive analytics models, a telco can now target those subscribers who fall in the same demographic and behaviour segment, and are beginning to show early signs of consuming online video content (category B), say once a week.

Thus, by using data enrichment techniques and effective audience profiling, product trials and user acquisition can be improved. This will further lead to increased conversion rates and better revenue realisation. Customers in different lifecycle stages can now be segmented basis past and existing usage statistics and also on real-time off-network behavior.

The need for data platforms
Telecom players must consider leveraging Data Platforms that provide them behaviour-based information - not only about their own subscribers, but also about their competitors’ subscribers. Data platforms can be crucial in gathering real-time consumer information, behaviors, and insights. In addition, they can also play a strategic part in setting up predictive analytics and creating tailored product offerings that can be targeted to those identified in category B.

Based on where these subscribers are in the physical world at any given point in time, telcos can plan and execute strategic and tactical efforts, such as improvement in distribution efforts, targeted BTL activations, and network improvements.

Case in Point
For example, data shows that Category A subscribers comprise of a majority of customers in the age group of 18-25, consume online video content between 3 PM to 5 PM, at least three times a week, are seen at malls on weekends, and have a higher tendency to use cabs more than public transport, especially in early evenings or late afternoons.

Based on this data, a strong correlation can be drawn on time, and the operator can identify the consumers who watch heavy video content whilst commuting in cabs. Using this powerful insight, the operator can now think of drawing partnerships with online video providers, and creating specialised and targeted offerings for this specific segment that is high on data usage and is driven by online video consumption.

Drawing a conclusion
To be able to accurately tap into the consumer behaviour, you need to leverage platforms that help you to gather and analyse consumer data and analytics in real-time. This will help to proactively predict upcoming trends and use them to target right consumers at the right time. Data Platforms are no longer a luxury, but a crying need of the day.

To keep pace with the ever-changing content and consumer dynamics, and to adapt and tailor their strategies to target consumers in real-time much before their competitors make the move, and to drive conversions successfully. Driving conversions will ultimately lead to the revenue boost.

Currently, in Singapore….
In Singapore, research shows that the Singtel network had higher cellular internet usage in the 18-25 year olds category, when compared to M1 and Starhub. By having real-time access to consumer insight like this, telecom players can deploy relevant strategies to attract their competitor audiences and tap into their new & potential audience segment. 

The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Singapore Business Review. The author was not remunerated for this article.

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Aditi Kohli

Aditi Kohli

Aditi is responsible for scaling Near’s business in the region with key partnerships and strategic deals. She is also responsible for driving adoption of Near’s products amongst brands and enterprises for their data-driven decisions.

Aditi comes with extensive digital experience covering various entrepreneurial and leadership roles in technology, media & entertainment industry in APAC. She has a proven track record in transforming and nurturing business from scratch to multi mil$ revenue. Prior to Near, Aditi worked with The Walt Disney company focusing on building quality interactive products, delivering high value partnerships and enhancing digital engagement & growth.

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