How to best monetise mobile data: Providing fact-based recommendations

Analysis & Go-to-market, 2013

How are mobile operators monetising mobile data in Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark – and in a few other international markets? Which changes have operators made to their monetisation models during the past years? How have these changes affected business results and how has competition responded?

Based on these international facts and best practice, what would tefficient recommend when it comes to e.g. volume caps, overage policy, throughput tiers and shared plans? Taking local conditions, operator strategy and market position into account.

Commissioned by an operator.

Will ad-funded mobile fly this time?

blyk Remember Blyk? The high-profiled venture that targeted the young UK population with free calls and texts – if they agreed to received targeted advert texts on their mobiles. After launch in 2007, the UK service was shut down 2009. [The Blyk name still exists in e.g. the Netherlands where Vodafone uses the concept.]

wifogThe question is if Swedish ad-funded MVNO Wifog – launched yesterday – can make a similar concept fly. Wifog has realised that in 2013, people spend most of their device-interaction time connected to the Internet. Their proposition is therefore data-centric: Watch 2-5 minutes of video adverts a day (you can schedule these) and in return get unlimited data (on 3’s 3G network), 120 minutes of voice and 200 SMSs per month.

Wifog tells advertisers that they can reach the right audience – through targeting and analytics. It’s likely that Wifog’s users will be profiled based on what they use the Internet for – much more powerful than the orginal Blyk concept which was based on end-users selecting their “areas of interest”. The question is just how interesting this is for advertisers in a world where Google – without asking for our opt-in consent – already targets us with device-specific, location-specific and usage-based adverts.

How 4G LTE became mainstream (for some)

Examining the strategic choices of operators: At tefficient, we’ve been having our ears to the ground for some time picking up and summarising operator data on how 4G LTE adoption is developing globally. An absolute majority of operators who have launched 4G LTE still fail to report their 4G LTE customer number, their 4G LTE device penetration and their 4G LTE traffic level – but it’s on its way up.

4G LTE cube

And for those that do report, the third quarter of 2013 represents a shift: No longer is 4G LTE a niche service for a few early adopters – instead it is mainstream. At least in parts of the world.

Three criteria need to be fulfilled to be able to count a user as a 4G LTE user. This analysis introduces the 4G LTE cube which visualises the strategic choices operators have when it comes to all three. So far, strategies differ very much – and they affect adoption strongly.

Download analysis: tefficient public industry analysis 14 2013 LTE

Workshop: How to include Wi-Fi in mobile data monetisation

Analysis & Consulting, 2013

Which operators in the world have advanced the furthest in incorporating operator Wi-Fi – based on hotspots and/or homespots – into a solution to offload mobile data and enhance the mobility of Wi-Fi-only devices? Which are their figures? What are the strategies and drivers behind? How has monetisation been solved? Are strategies different for telcos, cellcos and cablecos?

How should we apply what’s happening elsewhere onto our local competitive context? What should we be prepared for?

tefficient was asked to prepare and faciliate a workshop – focusing on these questions – for key stakeholders within an international operator group.

Invest – and conquer?

CAPEX efficiency matrixWhy CAPEX? Today, most executives would answer that CAPEX is necessary for two reasons: To grow (or sustain) revenue and to reduce OPEX.

In reality, not all CAPEX is productive. Investment decisions might prove wrong. The return on an investment can be lower than expected when competition does the same (or the opposite). Implementation delays might lead to that the window of opportunity is missed.

Since mobile telecom – compared to other mature industries – is a CAPEX intense business, CAPEX efficiency is important.

This analysis introduces a simple way to compare CAPEX efficiency – looking at the effects on both revenue and OPEX. It shows that some mobile operators have a track record of high CAPEX efficiency, whereas others have not.

Download analysis: tefficient public industry analysis 13 2013 CAPEX efficiency

How six months contracts changed mobile in Belgium and Denmark

Belgium churn analysis 12 2013 2Denmark has had it for more than 10 years, Belgium got it a year ago and now EU proposes it for all of EU: Maximum effective binding period of 6 months for consumer mobile contracts.

What happens to a mobile market when such a change is introduced and why is this change actually so significant?

This analysis shows that when Belgian consumers no longer are locked into long contracts, it has a major impact. The question is also if the transition is over in Belgium: Danish figures suggest it might get worse.

Since the EU commission – as part of the 11 September 2013 “Connected Continent: Building a Telecoms Single Market” plan – is proposing that EU consumers should have a similar right to cancel contracts after six months, the question is obviously: Is this also your future?

Download analysis: tefficient public industry analysis 12 2013 Six months contracts

Why the smartphone growth is over (for smartphones as we got to know them)

Smartphone penetration vs GDPAn amazing growth story comes to an end: Smartphone penetration isn’t really growing any longer in mature markets. Smartphones are still sold in high volumes, but the difference is that they’re now primarily sold – subsidised or not – to existing smartphone owners, who upgrades.

In 2007, there was an untapped demand for smartphones. With penetration rates approaching 70%, this demand is now fulfilled.

Also maturing markets show signs of saturation – at penetration levels less than 20% – since income level is proven to be the primary factor behind smartphone penetration.

The need for the 30 USD smartphone crystallises from this analysis. But operators must also upgrade networks for mobile data – and make mobile data hassle-free also for prepaid customers.

Download analysis: tefficient public industry analysis 11 2013 Smartphone penetration

From four to three operators: The quick fix of a broken market?

Austrian train

Austria, with a population of 8.5 million, used to have five mobile network operators, making it one of the most competitive mobile markets in Europe. Now there are three left.

When Hutchison-Whampoa, the owner of ‘3’, made a bid on Orange, the European Union needed 11 months to approve it. EU appears to have changed their thinking since. It’s roaming that is under scrutiny now: If operators would agree to abolish roaming fees within EU, maybe EU could be more forgiving to national M&A?

Consequently, European operator executives are publicly advocating the need to cut the number of mobile operators to three per country. If Telefónica’s bid for E-plus in Germany is approved by KPN’s shareholders and by the EU, it will be the ultimate starting signal for Europe’s march towards national consolidation: If it can be done in EU’s largest country, why not elsewhere?

But since Austria serves as the 4-to-3 precedent of Europe, let’s check what the first six months with three mobile operators did to the business results.

Download analysis: tefficient public industry analysis 10 2013 From 4 to 3 Austria

Network sharing JV benchmark 2013

Network sharing benchmarkComprehensive business benchmark including a total of 129 KPIs covering revenue, OPEX, CAPEX, productivity, traffic load and network quality – with a peer group solely consisting of network sharing joint ventures.

Due to pre-agreed confidentiality requirements, the identities of participating JVs are fully anonymous.

The results demonstrate the value of the JV-specfic benchmark approach: Network sharing JVs have established cost and productivity levels that are elevated far beyond the obvious sharing effects. Also network quality levels are very high even though traffic load is higher. To improve further, JVs need to compare with their likes – other JVs – and not to regular mobile operators.

Measure, compare and improve competitiveness within telecoms