Big data in telecoms – a potential game changer

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Now that big data has been accepted as a game changer in technology the question is how all this remotely affects the ordinary person. For Zimbabwe the relevance lies in certain domains. Looking at our mobile network operators and the data that happens to fall into their hands daily, the reality of big data is a lot closer to home than we realise.

MNOs have access to data that can be used to create revenue models for themselves as well as improve subscriber experience. Your mobile device and the way you use it always shows what sort of person you are. For example a teenager’s data and internet use patterns are largely in tune with the latest trends in social media and entertainment.This would be significantly different from how a middle aged corporate executive uses his phone for business reviews and formal communication.

Such information forms the basis of data analytics in telecommunications as the focus is to ethically use this data for the benefit of the customer and the service provider. Whatever trends that form through aggregation of usage patterns are then used to determine what subscribers like the most or is of greater relevance in their lives.


The spread of services offered by operators in the form of voice and data solutions helps provide a pattern of use that creates factual subscriber insight. Each of these services acts as a credible data source. As such it is easy to see how the operators are at an advantage if they handle data on usage to their benefit.

By observing data from customer care check ins, trends on voice calls such as frequently dialed numbers, SMS and MMS trends, off-net user relationships and credit use these basic mobile services can help paint a clearer picture of subscribers. This can be used to create defined marketing campaigns and promotions that don’t just make noise, but have appeal to the subscribers.

mCommerce Value Added Services offer a strong data set that can be used by operators as well as the service providers in profiling customer behaviour. Mobile payment platforms can use data on purchase decisions to create meaningful reward schemes and identify trends towards complimentary products that can improve an existing operator or provider’s portfolio.

Broadband services help gather more detailed data on subscribers. This is because internet usage patterns are a very accurate way of showing users’ preferences and this data can be manipulated profitably. Websites visited, clickstream analysis, videos viewed, content downloaded and social networking platforms frequented all help define subscribers clearly. Tastes and preferences can be identified which is helpful in mass market campaigns.

Another huge advantage of the data gathered by telecommunication operators is in creating an inventory of information that shapes research and development. This applies to the operators themselves as well as third parties that would benefit if they were sold data highlighting trends and spending patterns for subscribers.

With all of these obvious benefits from big data, perhaps players in telecommunications need to consider this as a new way of defining their service delivery whilst creating a revenue stream that has significant benefits to third party users in business and commerce. At the end of the day all this has huge benefits for consumers as technology will be harnessed to put their needs and preferences at the centre of enterprise decisions.

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2 thoughts on “Big data in telecoms – a potential game changer

  1. You are a bit backward. I know one MNO that has a Business Intelligence department. I’m sure other MNOs are following suit or have already followed suit. Some companies e.g banks are already taking advantage of B.I tools

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