Can telcos compete with OTT providers on customer experience?

Can telcos ever get customer experience right, or is their culture driving them to commoditization?




I was looking through the program for the upcoming Next Generation Telecoms summit. It’s the 16th annual NGT summit, which is much to be proud of, and the program reflects an industry where change is the only constant.

This year, the focus is on strategies and a vision to disrupt, not be disrupted. And that got me thinking about the modern touchpoint between customer and company: the app. What is the difference between mobile service provider apps and OTT service provider apps? Between Vodafone, EE, T-Mobile and Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat?

For me, it’s customer experience. The OTT service provider has nailed the mobile first experience better than the mobile service provider. Which reminded me of a great blog by my colleague Ben Thompson.

Ben asked a number of telco executives ‘Why can’t Telcos get Customer Experience right?’ There’s a lot more detail in the blog, but one reply in particular caught my attention…

“As a rule, telcos are not good at customer-centricity – it’s just not in the culture,”
said one telecoms exec, head of consumer innovation for a major European operator.

If the industry is serious about wanting to disrupt, and not be disrupted, maybe that quote should be the starting point for our discussions.


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