Context is key to the future success of telcos, speakers at the DigiWorld Future event have said.

Both former BT CEO Ben Verwaayen and VEON’s Chief Digital Officer Chris Schlaeffer (pictured above) called for a change to how the industry operates at the conference, which took place at Google’s London HQ.

France-based think-tank Digiworld highlighted the fact that the global telecoms services market grew 1.5 percent year-on-year to reach €1.2 billion in 2016.

In contrast, the TV and video services market grew 2.9 percent to €468.5 million, while internet services jumped 17.8 percent to €390 million.

Verwaayen, now a partner at investment house Keen Venture Partners, told delegates that companies in all sectors could no longer hide behind their size.

On the telecoms sector in particular, Verwaayen noted that operators were wrongly measuring data; instead, they should be measuring context, he said.

It was a theme that Schlaeffer elaborated to a much greater degree.

The CDO discussed VEON’s new platform – also called VEON – which the operator officially unveiled at Mobile World Congress in February.

It features a free messaging service that VEON has built itself.

Schlaeffer said “a strong point of differentiation” was that it does not consume data and “even works when you are out of credit”.

Added to the messaging capability is “curated content” that apes Snapchat Discover ans is again zero-rated.

[Watch: VEON CTO Yogesh Malik discusses the new platform]

The operator has bigger plans than taking on the OTT players, however.

Schlaeffer said the world was yet to grasp the “fundamental tectonic change” that is leading to “the age of contextual internet”.

In short, this means providing consumers with the services they need in a better and more personalised fashion.

Schlaeffer said the VEON platform, which launched in Italy in January via Wind Tre, the joint venture between VEON and CK Hutchison, was built around this premise.

Over 1.5 million customers – from a total subscriber base of 31 million – downloaded the service in the first three months of the year.

Schlaeffer said the operator was working with partners in the taxi industry to embed their app experience into the platform “so users don’t need to open a separate app if they want to order a taxi to go somewhere”.

“It’s a phenomenally strong tool,” Schlaeffer said.

Although he admitted it required “a lot of tech” to work, he added: “Context changes everything, we have not even scratched the surface.”

VEON plans to monetise the platform in part by revenue sharing with companies that sign up for the contextual capabilities on offer.

Schlaeffer gave the example of a football match, where taxi firms could target the operator’s customers with an offer by sending them a message five minutes before the match ended.

However, he said the identity of customers would not be revealed to the taxi firm thanks to “anonymous token technology” VEON has developed.

Privacy is another key tenet of the VEON platform, according to the exec.

“We reject advertising as a business model,” Schlaeffer said.

“If you go for advertising as a revenue stream you compromise privacy [because] you have to sell consumer data to somebody.”

Schlaeffer said the platform would launch in VEON’s other markets – Algeria, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Russia, as well as seven countries across Eurasia – in due course.

The company is also open to offering its platform to other operators, he said.

More News

Iliad enters content game in France, finally launches Italian mobile business Iliad enters content game in France, finally launches Italian mobile business Iliad has acquired football rights in France and launched its opco in Italy as it looks to reboot after a disappointing set of financial results. More detail
Three UK appoints new CCO, CFO Three UK appoints new CCO, CFO The departure of Three UK's Chief Commercial Officer after just 18 months in the job has triggered a shake-up of the mobile operator's top team. More detail
TalkTalk to sell enterprise customer base to Daisy as it registers full-year loss TalkTalk to sell enterprise customer base to Daisy as it registers full-year loss TalkTalk has agreed to sell 80,000 business customers to rival Daisy Group in a £175 million deal. More detail
A1 Telekom Austria Group rebrand reaches Bulgaria A1 Telekom Austria Group rebrand reaches Bulgaria Bulgaria is the third A1 Telekom Austria Group opco to get rebranded as the telco looks to market itself as a provider of "advanced" IT, IoT, cloud and content services. More detail
Orange Business Services puts IoT to use on saving ships’ fuel costs Orange Business Services puts IoT to use on saving ships’ fuel costs Orange Business Services has expanded its work with Dobroflot by developing a customised IoT solution for the Russian fishing company. More detail
    

 

European Communications is now
Mobile Europe and European Communications

  

From June 2018, European Communications magazine 
has merged with its sister title Mobile Europe, into 
Mobile Europe and European Communications.

No more new content is being published on this site - 

for the latest news and features, please go to:
www.mobileeurope.co.uk 

 

@eurocomms