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By: Markus Tagger, Group CEO, Beyond ONE

As the digital landscape continues its evolution, and consumer behaviour becomes increasingly driven by a ‘digital first’ mindset, almost every industry in today’s world is either ripe for disruption or in the process of transformation.

This certainly applies to the telecommunications industry, where data use is constantly increasing, and customers want more diverse services that better cater to their preferences and pockets.  Value-added services, convenience and immediate access are what today’s customers are looking for; and to deliver that, service providers need to adopt a greater degree of flexibility and nimbleness than the current industry status quo has demonstrated.

MVNO’s are particularly well placed to adapt quickly to meet changing demands, given their relative freedom from maintaining telecom infrastructure and networks to focus on improving the customer experience.   

However, while all consider themselves customer-centric, there appears to be little demonstration to date of companies giving customers exactly what they want.  Rather, most are giving them a little of what they want, and more of what suits the company to provide. 

If we look beyond the obvious data services which are offered in a similar way, at entertainment services, for example, that many MVNO’s and MNOs offer today, customers are obliged to subscribe to a bundle, rather than being able to truly pick and choose what interests them.  This also impacts the price— customers are having to pay for more than they want or use.  Being proactive in giving customers true choice and enabling them to tailor their own packages according to their needs and budget will build a new level of loyalty, and deter them from unnecessarily changing providers.

There is a need— and increasing demand— for seamless customer journeys, and therein lies a real opportunity for industry transformation.  In the current digital world of ‘apps for everything,’ scattered subscriptions to services are often forgotten, and both the time and money of consumers are wasted.  Equally, in some geographies where access to connectivity is limited, opportunities for betterment are not easily offered.

By simplifying and unifying what are usually fragmented digital services, telecommunications companies can enhance the lives of customers, and increase their accessibility to services, opportunities, and new communities they might otherwise not have had. 

Some elements of this are being introduced by a number of telecom companies, who now offer financial services.  FRiENDi Mobile, one of Beyond ONE’s brands in the Middle East, has recently launched FRiENDi Pay for its customers, opening a world of convenience, reliability and ease in making remittance payments to their families abroad. 

The goal is to extend the diversity of services being offered so that a customer’s complete digital ecosystem resides on one integrated platform— communications, media and entertainment, financial services, healthcare, education, community and social networking, and more.  

Customer service is only as good as the infrastructure through which it is delivered, the development of which will require significant investment in improving technology platforms to support new products and services, ensure seamless delivery and perform as true centres of consumers’ digital lives.

It has become imperative for telecom operators to adapt to these shifts in demand and not only react to them, but proactively steer them in the interest of customers. At the core of Beyond ONE's vision lies the ambition to become a leader in fast-growing markets by simplifying the digital experiences of millions. The strategy centres around bringing forth hyper-inclusive and super-personalized digital services. Our journey is not just about being another telco; this is merely the foundation that enables us to deliver our mission of disrupting, reshaping and streamlining digital ecosystems for consumers, making services more accessible, and putting them in the driving seat of their choices.

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