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2024 Telecom industry trends and how get ahead of competition

Updated: Jan 8

2023 has been a year of growth, re-assessment, evolution and challenge. It was the year telecoms got serious about AI with scarcely an article, white paper or report being published that failed to mention how it was going to transform the industry’s fortunes. In 2024, the telecoms sector will continue to explore the potential of AI, as it becomes increasingly embedded in operational processes and transforms from buzz word to business tool. As 2023 draws to a close, Subtonomy’s experts got together to predict the other trends most likely to shape the telecoms market in 2024.


#1 TELECOM TREND IN 2024

People, not technology, will become the number one priority for Telecoms in 2024

Subtonomy predicts that people will become the number one priority for Telecoms in 2024

After years of talking about 5G and the huge surge in interest in AI, telcos will start talking a lot more about humans in 2024. As plain old customer centricity is replaced by the Amazon-inspired concept of “customer obsession”, we will see telecoms harnessing Big Data, AI/ML, automation and predictive analytics to deliver hyper-personalized experiences to their customers to boost customer satisfaction and loyalty. But what about the other set of humans in the mix – employees?


Telecoms firms will continue to focus on improving their employees’ productivity and experience, as they shift from a concept of customer experience (CX) to one of total experience (TX). New AI/ML powered tools will help them make rapid progress towards both their TX and wider business goals, while freeing up human employees to do what they do best – such as think creatively, solve novel problems and empathise with customers.


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An essential part of delivering against these goals is gaining an accurate understanding of customers’ perception of their experience, and doing this requires accurate, holistic and up-to-date data about service performance at the individual subscriber level.


 

#2 TELECOM TREND IN 2024

Digital identity is key to future telecom success

Digital identity is key to future telecom success in 2024, Subtonomy predicts

As more services go online, combined with the rise of AI, digital identity is set to become one of the hottest topics of 2024. With the UK’s Cifas reporting that 86% of identity fraud is already perpetrated through online channels, the use of synthetic identities and deep fake technology create new challenges in the identity market.


This is where the smartphone is set to play an important role. Smartphones have already assimilated functions such as the camera and music player, and will next assimilate the key (becoming the means of unlocking everything from cars to buildings) as well as a range of physical authentication tools (such as passwords, passports, credit cards and so on).


This is a high-growth opportunity for telcos, with the delivery of 1.3 trillion one-time passwords (OTPs) generating $26 billion in 2023 from network traffic alone. Boosting the opportunity further is the introduction of the European Digital Identity Wallet, which all EU Member States are committed to offering by 2026. According to Juniper Research, all of this will result in an 86% boost in the uptake of digital identity apps between 2024 and 2026.


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Digital ID is set to be a major new opportunity for telcos both as a revenue-generating service and as a key part of their own operational efficiency initiatives. Customer identification within self-service channels (such as mobile apps, online chat, IVR and even chatbots), for example, will become an increasingly hot topic. While enabling persistent ID – the ability to ID customers once and utilize this across all channels of interaction – will be championed to reduce both operational costs and customer frustration.


 

#3 TELECOM TREND IN 2024

Rapid evolution of chatbots will see them take a much bigger role in the telecom customer service mix

Subtonomy experts predict chatbots will take a much bigger role in the telecom customer service mix in 2024

Today’s chatbots are frequently frustrating. A study by Forrester rated recent chatbot experiences at a lukewarm 6.4/10. Half the customers surveyed said they often feel frustrated by chatbot interactions and nearly 40% of these interactions were said to be negative. This is all set to change. Not only are large language models (LLMs) being integrated with chatbots, but GPT-4 now enables access to real-time online information. This will see chatbots become far smarter and enhance the customer service experience in two key ways. Firstly, they’ll be able to answer a far greater range of inquiries accurately and efficiently, supporting call center deflection (also known as call containment). But critically they’ll also become an important component of more complex customer interactions. Where a customer’s inquiry can’t be handled entirely by the chatbot or resolved in a digital self-service channel, chatbots will still have a role in capturing vital customer information (such as customer ID and reason for contact), passing this on so that call center agents have it at their fingertips when they start the call. (Our Self-service API). This data might be captured when the customer initially interacts with a chatbot before being passed to the call center for resolution, or it could be captured while the customer is queuing for service. Of course nobody likes to queue, but chatbots will play an important role in more intelligent queuing - interacting with customers to mop up simple inquiries (resolving the query and deflecting the assisted interaction) or capturing vital customer data prior to the customer chatting to the agent. Gartner calculates that this latter function alone will save significant time for call center agents, speeding interactions by a third. The chatbot revolution will also see the chatbot becoming more proactive. Chatbots will be able to mine customer data to make personalized recommendations ranging from advising customers how to optimize their service experience, to promoting new offers that are particularly suitable for an individual customer, to hyper-personalization that enhances the experience, reduces effort and deepens customer engagement.


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Chatbot evolution is entirely dependent on having access to good quality data and being able to identify the customer and their issues accurately. If the chatbot is not able to handle the inquiry in its entirety, there’s still significant value in capturing key data and then transferring the customer along with their interaction history to a human agent for resolution.

 

#4 TELECOM TREND IN 2024

Personalized marketing is set to hit compliance guard rails

Subtonomy predicts that personalized telecoms marketing will hit compliance guard rails

Personalization is key to successful marketing, and the good news is that telecoms firms have a wide range of data that can be used to hyper-personalize their marketing efforts. Service performance data, for example, can enable precision targeting of particular services at the customers most likely to buy them.


The challenge telecoms firms face is finding the right balance between personalization and data privacy that enables them to become more effective while building customer trust and ensuring compliance. Using service performance data outside network operations and customer support will require changes to telecoms processes, as personalization hits data privacy guard rails. It’s very early days to use telecoms data in this way, with McKinsey finding that in 2022 only 5% of telecoms firms were unlocking the full potential of data analytics and hyper-personalization in marketing; but 2024 will see the industry giving serious thought to this issue because the potential wins are so significant.


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Beginning in 2024, telecoms firms are set to take a more holistic approach to customer lifetime value (CLV). Rather than focusing on next best actions or offers (an organizational-centric approach to customers), they will begin to take a more integrated customer-centric approach. This will involve using data to create unique customer management plans that integrate service requirements with problem resolution, marketing and payments. By broadening their contact framework to become more proactive, they will drive up CLV, and the key to doing this will be access to reliable data that is used compliantly and with respect to customers’ privacy concerns.

 

#5 TELECOM TREND IN 2024

5G FWA will increasingly be QoS-based

Connecting people through 5G FWA will increasingly be QoS-based, say Subtonomy experts

All customers want the great experience provided by fiber, but many are not able to benefit from it either because it’s not cost-effective to connect them or fiber broadband is taking too long to roll out. One way to connect both the unconnected and underconnected is to use fixed wireless access (FWA) over 5G, which ABI Research predicts will reach 72 million connections by 2027.


Customers expect 5G FWA service performance to be similar to fiber, which is why in 2024 and beyond, 5G FWA will increasingly be QoS-based – offering tiered speeds and service guarantees. Delivering QoS-based 5G FWA isn’t straightforward though, and requires telcos to tackle a series of service quality challenges. Not only is the usage profile of an FWA customer different to that of a standard mobile customer, but if network capacity isn’t managed efficiently, high levels of FWA can cause customer experience to deteriorate for both FWA and other mobile customers, competing as they do for the same resources.


Pro tip: Not only will service providers need to manage end-to-end service quality for their FWA customers, but they’ll also need to monitor and manage the impact of FWA on other mobile customers. Customers will expect high-quality services if they’re to trust their traffic to mobile, accompanied by high-quality customer support when things go wrong. From a telecoms perspective, successful 5G FWA deployment requires a number of essential elements to be in place. Find out more here.



Step into 2024 with Subtonomy

2024 is poised to be a transformational year for telecoms players. Although there’s a lot going on, a common theme is that initiatives are customer-focused and data driven. As the only telecoms vendor dedicated to technical customer support, Subtonomy is at the forefront of a customer experience revolution – blending cutting-edge technology with user-friendly tools to break down barriers, streamline and future-proof telecom operators’ businesses. We empower telecoms innovation and operational excellence by freeing network data and non-disruptively providing access to it from ONE place. Whatever your initiative, find out here how Subtonomy can help you deliver it faster and more effectively without the need to swap out underlying systems or network equipment.


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