The first 5G NR standard came in place before the end of last year, and there’s a huge possibility that various aspects of 5G innovation would be in focus at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The excitement of operators, and all the various technology companies is understandable considering the tremendous transformational potential of the fifth generation of mobile technology. However, it’s essential for organisations not to be too blinded by the glitz of what might be up next; the present should not lose focus in light of the future.
All the organisations claim how their prime focus is to cater to the changing needs of their customers. But at times, this takes a backseat in the race to outpace competition. It’s essential to remember that the end-customers are not exactly concerned with the generation of technology; what matters is the quality of experience they are offered. When the digital era came in full swing, telcos were hit hard mainly because of them being hesitant to a progressive evolution all this years. Before they could devise a great messaging service for the customers, WhatsApp took the market share. Before telcos could revamp their IPTV offerings, OTT video conquered a major part of the consumer market. Faced with so much competition from the various digital players, they are trying their best to reiterate their technological supremacy. However, unless customers remain the focus on their way forward, they might again miss out on the big share of the revenue pie few years down the lane.
The current generation of customers would leave no stones unturned to get the service they desire, and for them, it’s the quality that matters, not necessarily who is providing a service or what technology underlies that offering. I remember one of the interactions I recently had with few friends and colleagues on VoIP. I asked them their alternative plans to connect with their families and friends abroad, following the Skype ban in the UAE. I didn’t exactly see a lot of interest in them to pay an extra fee to use a similar service provided through the operators. In a way, the digital players have spoilt customers with great services for very less prices, as a result, higher prices don’t exactly seem like the best alternative to increase customer retention or growth.
The only and strongest differentiator in today’s age is quality. Once a particular service creates a stickiness for the consumers with its value proposition and experience, there might be scope for increasing the revenue count from that by offering a premium alternative or by slightly increasing the price overall. Like a senior analyst once remarked, if Netflix doesn’t necessarily lose customers when it increases its pricing in a particular market, it’s because that market might not have any other service that can offer a better offering to the customers in that space. That’s what companies need to aim for- make your services good enough to enable you to upsell them at a later date.
Nobody is saying investing in 5G is wasteful, but yeah, that shouldn’t be an excuse for not investing or making enough efforts to improve the 4G or 3G coverage that your customers currently have access to. Invest where the ROI is increased customer satisfaction and unrivalled quality differentiation. At the end of the day, that will decide the winner in the digital world while other players will either be reduced to being small players or dumb pipes.