Telcos should harness Big Data to drive new revenues, says survey

Around 60 per cent of operator respondents to the Industry Survey 2014 believe that it is more important for telcos to harness the power of Big Data to drive new revenue streams externally than it is to turn it to the advantage of their own internal operations. Yet when questioned in more depth about their Big Data strategy, the spread of responses suggested a real ambiguity in the purpose of such an initiative.

In the 2013 industry survey, over 80 per cent of respondents said they expected operators to own their own cloud infrastructure by 2015, with over 90 per cent expecting operators to be selling cloud services within the same time frame. Over the past year there has been a great deal of activity in this area—and not a little hype—indicating that these expectations were correct. So for the 2014 survey we chose to make our cloud focus more granular and cast a searching eye over Big Data initiatives in the telecoms sector.

Almost a quarter of operators said that their organisation has Big Data initiatives in place for addressing both internal and external opportunities. Twelve per cent of respondents said there was an internally focused Big Data strategy in place and ten per cent an initiative focused on external revenue streams. Among those operators that do not currently have Big Data strategies in place it is clearly on the agenda; 22.2 per cent of operators said introduction of such an initiative was planned for this year and ten per cent said one was planned for 2015.

Just over nine per cent of operator respondents said there were no plans in place at all. So by 2016, if our respondents are right, around 80 per cent of operators and two thirds of the industry will have a Big Data strategy in place. However, this means 20 per cent of operators either don’t plan to introduce a Big Data initiative or don’t see it as applicable to their business.

This figure dovetails nicely with the findings from the section of last year’s survey focused on the cloud, so it might be that, with Big Data and cloud initiatives often going hand in hand, there is a ten to 20 per cent chunk of the operator sector to which these technologies are still not thought to be relevant.


The 2014 Intelligence Global Industry Survey drew responses from more than 2,000 industry professionals, including more than 700 operator representatives. You can register to receive the report here.

One comment

  1. Avatar Tim Deluca-Smith 05/03/2014 @ 3:39 pm

    For me I’m curious (and excited) to understand what those “opportunities” are. Where do the operators see the immediate opportunities; is it in product / service improvement, customer care etc?

    There’s much talk about Big Data investments, but I’ve yet to see an operator clearly state what their intentions are. How will they use the data, what is the ROI?

    Not sure if this was covered in the survey, but it would be great to hear from some operators about their real-world intentions for this technology.

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