The CTO of VimpelCom has said the operator wants to be the global pioneer of 5G, talking exclusively to Telecoms.com.
Yogesh Malik, the technology head of the world’s sixth largest operator, told Telecoms.com the industry is obsessed with download speeds and latency, but that it’s entirely overlooking the customer experience element of next gen telecoms.
“Unfortunately, today 5G only focuses on latency, speed and battery life,” he said. “What it needs to focus on is the customer intimacy; it needs to be based on triggers which allow us to reach the customer much faster and create value in real-time. 5G needs to become the customer-oriented transformative language.”
Specifically, Malik believes telcos need to become the complete digital service provider for customers, if they need to use Amazon, book accommodation, find activities and tourism ideas while travelling, conduct payments and everything in between.
“Tomorrow, a phone number could be the biggest identity for doing all commerce. We want total carrier billing integration. If I have my phone number, I can pay for anything, I can secure anything, I can do what I have to do online easily. In emerging markets we know people need immediate visibility to their finances because pre-pay may be the only option for people accessing new, digital services.”
The key to all of this is data, and having the ability to gain insight into customer behaviour, according to Malik, who says using data intelligence to empower the consumer experience is what 5G is really all about.
“It’s not about the transmission, 5G, it’s about the data layer. It’s about the application of data, we need to separate data out of the application and whether it’s transaction, location, purchase or commerce data, it needs to be available to every application beyond CRM at any given time. We need to monetise it, use it and get value out of it all in real-time on either 3G, 4G or 5G. That’s what I believe 5G is all about. “
Malik also says VimpelCom wants to be the global pioneer for this approach to 5G, saying he has a hunch the wider industry would agree with his mentality without necessarily openly admitting it.
“I don’t really care if other operators don’t agree with us, but I think the wider industry would agree with what we believe,” he says. “I truly believe that here, at VimpelCom, we want to be the pioneers and spearhead this customer-obsessed philosophy. We want to be the first to not only roll out 5G, but the first to be customer obsessed. Once 5G is commercially available, we’ll definitely be there; but it’s so far beyond that, it has to be totally about the customer.”