The world of telecommunications in Africa is definitely changing. Gone are the days of telecom operators telling their customers what they can and can’t have; it’s now all about the customer and the experience that they enjoy. I spoke with many operators at AfricaCom 2013 last week, from Cairo to Cape Town, and the question was always the same: what can you do to improve my customers’ experience? How can I prevent a small amount of network abusers from impacting the experience of the majority, and how can I proactively measure that experience to ensure that my customers stay with me and tell their friends?
This was my third visit to AfricaCom and it was noticeable that the attitude toward deploying solutions based on Deep Packet Inspection had changed from simply managing P2P traffic into optimizing the services provided to both enterprise and individual consumers. The increase in data service usage was remarkable, too—three years ago, as I walked into the CTICC, most people who were using mobile services we’re using voice and a small amount of SMS. This year, the number of mobile users accessing Facebook, emailing, downloading and sharing photographs and videos (mainly of the late night parties that they had attended in the Waterfront and downtown the night before :) ) was similar to what I would see at comparable events in Europe and Asia.
It seems that the message is getting across that in order to attract data-consuming customers and build revenue streams that are sustainable and profitable, you have to look after those customers. You need to understand what they want, when they want it, where they want it from, and with what device. Earlier this month Procera’s Director of Solutions Marketing, Ken Osowski, contributed an article to Developing Telecoms, explaining that Africa’s mobile operators must start developing service plans that are consistent with a subscriber’s application usage profile. This can be accomplished by creating policies that go beyond one-dimensional data volume- or bandwidth-limited service plans that simply assume all subscribers have the same application profile. If you have a minute I encourage you to read the full article (here).
One thing’s for sure: with 4G available and plenty of competition, it will be critical for operators in Africa’s quickly growing telecommunications market to equip themselves with Internet Intelligence solutions that will enable greater insights into their customers’ data usage and overall quality of experience. This will open the door to faster service velocity that will empower operators to cater to subscribers’ diverse needs and wants, and allow Africa to do business on an equal playing field in the highly competitive global telecommunications marketplace.
Topics: What We're Up To, Traffic Management, Internet Intelligence, Bandwidth, Intelligent Policy Enforment, Data Service Usage, Telecommunications, Bandwidth Control, Mobile Operators, Cable Operators, DPI, SMS, AfricaCom, Facebook, P2P Traffic