Oyku Mengenli, Director of Roaming at Mobileum, shares her highlights…& lowlights!

Dubai is a city known for its glowing skyline, eye-catching architecture and sweltering heat. But more than anything, Dubai is a city that serves as a global connector, a crossroads of people, cultures, and geographies. So it’s no surprise that the roaming world descending upon this shimmering desert oasis for GSMA WAS #7 to discuss the critical issues facing the mobile industry today.

Held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, this year’s event brought together leaders in the worlds of roaming, interconnect agreement templates and wholesale charging principles. It’s a wonderful event, but I couldn’t help but chuckle just a little bit about the irony of seeing some attendees reaching their phone data limits, left to find alternative ways to get online. We still have a long way to go, don’t we!

To kick things off on a fun note, GSMA brought delegates to the renowned live show, La Perle. Think Cirque de Soleil meets Ringling Brothers on water. The creativity of La Perle was inspiring and the perfect way for everyone to let their hair down before a busy week. But business being business, we eventually had to come to terms with the sad fact that we didn’t come to Dubai on holiday. Instead, we had to move the mobile agenda forward. So we rolled up our sleeves and got to work!

WAS #7 was filled with fruitful discussions and engaging events, a deep dive into the trends happening in the industry. However, to avoid this blog being as long as the Burj Khalifa is tall, I won’t write about everything I experienced, luckily for you! Instead I’ll focus on some notable trends worth highlighting, which will continue to be topics of conversations far outside the hallways of the Grand Hyatt.

Travellers still fear bill shock…& they should!

Consumers are increasingly substituting social media interactions for voice and SMS conversations while travelling to avoid the high price of roaming. Along with the increased prevalence of free public Wi-Fi in Europe and beyond, MNOs are competing to win over travellers who have a multitude of options at their disposal to avoid costly roaming charges.

These factors are creating significant hurdles as operators search for new roaming revenue opportunities, something vitally important right now as mobile subscriber growth rates are slowing down and operator margins continue to decline on a global basis.

Roaming is not going away, but the current business model could be

Roaming isn’t dead, but it is transforming. That’s because competition, regulation and disruption are all driving down the profitability of traditional roaming services. In parallel, the customer base is becoming mass market with overall usage growing. This perfect storm means customer experience will be the king going forward.

The roaming customer experience has always been a high priority for operators, but with pricing bundles becoming commoditised, it’s now the key differentiator. The business model of the future will be built around providing the best quality roaming experience possible. But that won’t come without hurdles. For example, it’s nearly impossible to manage partner networks with traditional monitoring tools, which struggle to measure and manage roaming customer experience.

It’s all about the base

Improving engagement with roamers and using that engagement as a platform to offer enhanced and new services is a real and viable new revenue opportunity. But to tap into this new area of growth, operators will have to shift their focus from delivering roaming services to satisfying the roaming subscriber base. And that’s a lot harder than it sounds.

Getting today’s customer to first discover and then use roaming services – all while ensuring the customer experience is of the highest quality – will require a data-driven approach. Operators will need to embrace individualisation and dynamic segmentation, all the way down to the segment of one!

How Mobileum can help

To do this, operators want to have the right tools (and insight) to engage. Mobileum’s Active Intelligence Platform can help operators properly analyse the data on their customers’ habits, identifying and segmenting travellers based on factors including historical spend, device type, how often they travel, data usage at home and length of contract and provide the ability to turn these valuable insights into action in real-time

And with the use of advanced predictive analytics capabilities from Mobileum, operators can predict the future travel habits of their subscribers and offer them more contextual roaming packages, increasing the overall appeal of roaming services.

By offering subscribers targeted roaming packs and bundles catered specifically to their travel habits, operators can conduct highly targeted and personalized roaming services campaigns leading to significant subscriber uptake and unlock new revenue opportunities that they had previously been missing out on.

Visit www.mobileum.com for more information.

Oyku Mengenli is Director of Roaming at Mobileum. With over 20 years’ experience in International Business Development within the roaming/telco industry, Oyku has particular expertise in designing disruptive, compelling products and solutions for operators around the globe, to better engage silent roamers, drive active roamer penetration and generate sustainable revenue .