Unlimited data is back. Price wars are a constant threat to the bottom line, and customer loyalty is harder to earn. But a new report from Bain & Company and mobile edge computing company Vasona Networks finds that operators finally have an opportunity to break the cycle with a new approach to network investment planning that measures and prioritizes incremental RAN investments based on how they impact customer quality of experience.
To date, operators have largely been running to stay in place. They are urgently expanding radio access network (RAN) capacity to keep up with exponential data demands, and adding frequencies to cell sectors, along with the corresponding licenses and necessary antennas, backhaul and transport. This can lead to frustration when gains in market share, ARPU or Net Promoter Scores don’t align with money spent.
Prioritizing quality on each investment
There’s a better way. Operators that prioritize quality of experience in network investments can achieve as much as a 30 percent improvement in customer experiences for the same level of investment, resulting in higher capital efficiency, according to the “Getting Quality Returns from Investments in Mobile Networks” report.
Historically, traditional network performance metrics guided planning strategies and were sufficient for operator-owned services like voice calling and text messages. Today, unhappy mobile customers leave negative reviews of their provider and defect to rivals. While the typical response of lowering prices may work in the short term, it perpetuates the cycle and delays greater problems. But operators are now realizing that traditional measurements fall short in measurement, thereby failing to point the way to better customer experiences.
QoI In Action
According to the Bain and Vasona report, operators can gain a competitive edge and stretch existing investments further by focusing on network performance metrics that measure outcomes customers notice and value most, like video start time and stalls. In short, they can deliver more quality on each incremental network investment (QoI)
The multi-step QoI methodology creates a new paradigm for network monitoring, measurement and transformation to drive more impactful investment decisions. With this approach, operators can measurably improve experiences for activities like video streaming, web browsing, gaming and more by assessing each mobile cell and prioritizing investments based on QoI. This includes implementing cloud-based edge computing technology solutions that target customer-focused metrics by proactively managing traffic to boost quality for best return on investment.
Once mobile operators successfully move from a focus on generic network performance to an approach that supports real-time measurement of user experiences, they will be able to invest in the experiences customers value most. Combining QOI-oriented planning with network technology focused on usage episodes can yield satisﬁed customers and improved returns.
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