Thursday, March 31, 2011

Operators battle revenue decline in war against Google and Apple

LONDON, UK: Operators face declining revenues in 2011 if they fail to innovate the way they sell content, enabling brands like Google and Apple to monopolise customer spend according to research by nToklo, providers of social discovery, integration and recommendations tools.

The research reveals that 81 percent of telecoms professionals believe that without innovation, operators face a loss in revenues and 76 percent agree that Apple and Google are eroding operator brand equity, identifying a clear need to look at new and innovative services in order for the operators to continue to compete.

“Apps and other mobile content present a major opportunity and therefore operators must have a content strategy if they are to have any hope to regain revenue. We believe it is time for operators to fight back and regain some of this customer loyalty, which will be critical in driving their business forward,” said Gareth Mee, CEO, nToklo.

“The explosion of smartphones and now tablet devices has resulted in apps becoming one of the major business areas in the mobile telecoms market. As reported earlier this year, Apple has passed the 10 billion App Store download mark and operators need to catch up.”

Operators must be more competitive in the app space, as the research reveals that over half of respondents (59 percent) believe smartphones generate extra revenue opportunities, and 45 percent believe that content and apps are the biggest revenue opportunities for operators today. Whilst 28 percent believe other valued added services are the biggest revenue opportunities, followed by additional data packages (27 percent).

Handsets have traditionally been supplied with pre-loaded software for consumers to make use of all the functionality offered by the device. However, the growth in app and app stores has signalled a move away from this trend, with users looking for new ways to discover software and apps for their smartphones, and operators need to compete here, with the combination of social media and m-commerce offering a great opportunity for differentiation, by leveraging their existing user base.

“The consumers desire to share apps with friends has really driven the popularity of smartphones, and facilitating this is where operators can look to gain some ground back by offering a more extensive social experience,” concludes Mee.

Using a Social Integration Gateway and Recommendations Engine, nToklo can help operators sell more online by empowering customers to share their in store shopping experience with their friends. This approach helps attract more customers to the operator site, creates a more personal and meaningful experience and makes it easier for customers to spend more time and money.

The research was carried out at Mobile World Congress 2011 and interviews were conducted with 71 telecoms professionals.

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