Dlamini believes data traffic is the next growth opportunity for operators, which is also their “biggest strategic investment”.
“Telecom operators around the world are grappling with declining voice revenues and growing competition. The trend is the same across Africa, where telcos are confronted with the challenges of optimising their networks, maximising the potential of the data boom, and realising revenue growth in an environment where voice revenues are declining,” said Dlamini.
In order for telecommunications companies and other enterprises to maximise the potential of data traffic, Dlamini believes they need to revisit their data management, analytics capabilities and data warehousing.
“Some telcos in Africa are projecting that in three years, around 20 per cent of their revenue will come from data. Mobile traffic has doubled from 2011, and was 25 per cent up in [the fourth quarter of] 2012 alone. At the same time, voice revenues are dropping worldwide,” said Dlamini.
“There will be more focus going forward on ensuring that revenue growth from data is sustained. Value added services will be the next big revenue generator for operators. Across Africa, consumers are cashing in on data bundles at very low prices as telecom operators grow increasingly competitive.”
In terms of monetising data, Dlamini said it is important for the data network supporting infrastructure to accommodate the rapidly increasing amount of data, which passes through and is stored on the network.
“It must not only accommodate it, the infrastructure must also make this asset available to deliver insights in near real time,” said Dlamini.
Furthermore, Dlamini said by applying advanced analytics to data within the warehouse, the telecommunications company in question is able to obtain a clearer understanding of its customers’ behaviour. It will assist it in fraud reduction, billing improvement, and will drive both customer acquisition and retention.
Dlamini believes that without data warehousing strategies and solutions, which are designed to support new demands, attempting to find the relevant insights within large volumes of data would be comparable to “looking for a needle in a haystack”.
“In future, those who realise that data is a valuable asset that needs to be managed and more visible than ever before, and who thus maximise it, will be the ones that survive,” he said.