New research from Openet suggests mobile operators are making progress in transforming from being traditional communications service providers to become digital service providers.
The study, carried out by Sapio Research, gauged the perceptions of consumers in five different countries.
It found that consumers hold mobile operators in “higher digital regard” than Spotify, eBay and Uber. Only Google, Amazon, Netflix and Apple are respected more for their digital leadership, the analysis showed.
Further, the telecommunications sector was ranked fourth in terms of overall industry digital leadership, beaten only by technology, financial services and retail sectors.
“To achieve digital parity with many of the world’s most recognisable technology brands underlines the significant progress mobile operators have made,” said Niall Norton, CEO at Openet.
“The global operator community most certainly had some catching up to do in driving digital awareness and engagement in the face of new competition and approaches.
"Most operators launched strategic digital transformation projects to not only revolutionise how they create, offer and monetise new digital services, but also re-architect their networks. Our study reveals the significant value of these projects and the exciting commercial opportunities that await them.”
The research also found that 32% of global consumers interact with their operators digitally on a daily basis. While 52% consider their operators to provide a utility, 31% view them as ‘digital facilitators’.
Almost three-quarters (73%) of consumers surveyed said they want more digital services from their operators, and 69% want more digital innovation.
More than two-thirds (70%) of consumers believe their mobile operator to be ‘digital first’. Consumers said they rate an operator’s speed of operation as the most valuable trait of a digital-first organisation.
Almost two-thirds (65%) of respondents said they would feel more engaged with their mobile operator if it offered more digital services, and 79% would feel more loyal. In addition, 64% stressed the importance of digital partnerships in ensuring they remain with an operator.
Norton commented: “The global operator community should be congratulated for these survey findings. Many of them have had their world’s turned upside down over the past few years and entered a period of re-education and re-invention.
Our survey clearly shows that most have successfully completed a period of digital re-invention to forge new customer relationships according to the same values, albeit across new channels and through new services.
“What is most exciting is that global operators have only scratched the surface in terms of unlocking the full potential of the digital technology that enables these new working practices"
He added, "Lucrative new revenues await all operators that have completed or are completing their digital transformations – and seeing their CapEx costs for enabling technology infrastructure slashed at the same time.”
The research surveyed 1,620 consumers across the UK, Colombia, Canada, Indonesia and Singapore.
Read the full report: Mobile operators – digital leaders, or ‘also-rans’?