Telecommunications is going through a period of remarkable transformation, as this once-analog industry wrestles with the accelerated pace of digital transformation and impact of emerging platform technologies.
The pace of change in telecoms services perfectly illustrates this evolving challenge. In 2006—at the height of analog connectivity—there were over 1.26bil fixed telephone lines around the world, an unprecedented rate of telecommunications access. With the rise of digital communications and smartphone connectivity, that number has dropped significantly over the last two decades, falling to just 884mil by 2021.
At the same time, smartphone penetration has rocketed, with the number of smartphones sold globally increasing from 472mil in 2011 to over 1.4bil in 2021. More than two thirds of the global population now has a smartphone, with 5.48bil unique mobile users as of 2022. That reflects a triumph in technology and provision by communication service providers (CSPs) driving to connect communities across the world.
This evolution is complemented by a remarkable global internet rollout, although one that remains incomplete—the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) estimates 2.7 billion people around the world are still unconnected.
Alongside this major transition from fixed line to digital and mobile connectivity, smartphones and connected digital tools are unlocking new capabilities in areas such as mobile data services, mobile money and financial technology (FinTech), multimedia capabilities, and even virtual reality.
This dynamic, fast-moving landscape reveals the importance of adaptability for modern CSPs when it comes to maintaining strong revenue performance, and the vital need for effective revenue assurance and business assurance across the telecommunications ecosystem.
A dynamic revenue landscape
Revenue generating activities have transformed over the last century, from simple telephonic systems to a whole ecosystem of CSP opportunities. Now new platform technologies such as 5G and increasing adoption of fiber optic communication will continue to disrupt that system.
This remarkable transformation might seem like a win-win for CSPs, but it represents an extremely challenging and competitive landscape for revenue generation and protection. It’s estimated that mobile network providers alone will have to invest USD1.1tril in capital expenditure between 2020-2025, with more than three-quarters of that related to 5G investment. Justifying this level of capital expenditure requires strong revenue foundations.
Recent analysis by Moody’s of 28 of the largest telecoms operators show there is room for growth, with a projected 2%-3% organic revenue growth over the next 12-18 months. Yet it highlights the significant threat of disruption that could stymie that growth, including persistent high inflation, higher interest rates, erosion of purchasing power, competitive constraints on pricing, and lack of ability to generate return on 5G investments.
Boosting and protecting revenue is critical in this landscape, but analysis is clear that it remains an evolving challenge. At a time when Moody’s project total revenue will rise, growing user numbers could impact the average revenue per user (ARPU). A report on the global telecoms landscape by researchers Omnia revealed that revenues from mobile and fixed broadband services will grow 14% to 2027, but that ARPU will fall by 4.2%, showcasing the challenges of a tightening revenue landscape.
While 5G opens up new possibilities for customers and CSPs, Omnia’s analysis is that this exciting new service platform will not offset overall decline in average revenue per user, demonstrating how important it is to ensure revenue systems are optimized.
Protecting, optimizing, and maximizing revenue streams is critical in this increasingly disrupted and competitive landscape. Neural Technologies’ Revenue Assurance solution is designed to allow CSPs to identify and track revenue leakage, helping capture and identify discrepancies accurately, prevent and control leakages rapidly, and effectively recover and optimize revenue growth.
It delivers rapid return on investment by quickly identifying the root cause of revenue leakage, backed by automated data checks, and provides clear ongoing monitoring of key performance indicators (KPI) to demonstrate metrics of success.
What’s critical in this landscape is the ability to adapt, and that’s why our Revenue Assurance product is designed to be flexible and scalable to meet the demands of changing market and business conditions. It allows unlimited data source integration and data quality automation, with automated alarms to identify anomalous events in reconciliation, billing, re-rating, invoicing, and more.
The user-friendly dashboard allows revenue teams to drill down and analyze revenue streams and leakages across critical dimensions, helping ensure that informed decision making can be leveraged to understand where and how a business needs to adapt. It enables users to quickly audit cases where required, and empowers customized reporting through the multi-dimensional data explorer.
Revenue will remain a major challenge for CSPs in 2023, as the continued disruption to our global economy creates a dynamic and challenging revenue landscape. What’s clear is that to thrive in this environment, businesses will need to adapt, and leverage smart, data-driven decision making to inform that process.