How can telcos turn billions of IoT connections into revenues to match? In his latest industry panel debate, Cerillion’s Richard Doughty talks strategies and opportunities for monetising the Internet of Things, and how providers can be more than just a dumb pipe.
The proliferation of IoT devices and associated services has opened up a raft of new revenue opportunities for telecoms operators, but actually monetising these use cases has created a wider set of challenges. How can telcos get themselves ready, and what benefits might there be?
To try and crack this conundrum, Richard Doughty, Cerillion’s Business Development Director, recently took part in the industry panel Monetizing IoT Globally: Mapping the Journey from IoT Roaming to Revenue Growth
at the Carrier Community IoT Summit in London.
is a global telecom club for wholesale telecom service providers, with members from over 2,300 operators in more than 120 countries. Its Carrier Community IoT Summit is an international conference series bringing together key industry stakeholders to help enterprises to implement successful, profitable IoT strategies, weaving together IoT with security, 5G and other technologies.
Joining Richard on the panel in London were Allan Ajuz, CEO of Telecall, and Kushal Shah, Business Development Director for MVNO at BT. Meanwhile, Johannes Opitz, VP of Commercial Roaming and International Mobile Wholesale for Deutsche Telekom, and Brian Chiu, Business Development Manager for China Mobile International took part via Zoom. Moderating was Arun Dehiri, Managing Director of Red Dawn Consulting.
The emerging opportunities for IoT are significant, with billions of connections promising enormous revenue potential over the next 10 years. However, connectivity is only a small portion of the market opportunity, and operators must do much more to increase their share of the pie.
Richard highlighted that there are some CSPs making money from IoT, but not that many, yet. Nevertheless, if enterprises see value, they’re willing to spend their money on IoT solutions – and spend they are, in sectors such as critical communications and asset tracking.
When it comes to IoT monetisation, charges must cover variable network costs, particularly in the case of 5G, with different network services necessitating different rates. No one price fits all – for example, a car equipped with Google Maps onboard can potentially consume gigabytes worth of data in a single journey. Intelligent wholesale pricing is needed, lest many small or medium-sized businesses find themselves smothered in the crib by excessive charges.
As with many new and emerging technologies, pricing often struggles to keep up, and IoT is no different. Those businesses that continue to struggle with monetising IoT roaming need new business models; as Allan highlighted, for example, permanent roaming
is not allowed in a number of countries, including Brazil, per the national regulator’s guidelines, which can cause problems for businesses using global SIMs. Providing local physical SIMs or eSIMs makes it much easier to provide international users with a local profile, but take-up requires partnerships with domestic carriers too.
The line between virtual providers and network operators is also becoming increasingly blurry, with eSIM-powered MVNOs growing in number rapidly and transforming the market, with Kushal citing Cerillion customer Truphone
as an organisation “pushing boundaries” in this space.
To be successful in the long-term, CSPs must develop new partnerships and sell complete IoT solutions, or risk becoming the proverbial “dumb pipe”. This need not be a stretch, as the building blocks for IoT delivery are not that different from traditional BSS/OSS components: charging, catalogue, fulfilment, settlement…it’s all the same capabilities.
However, IoT is often approached as a separate business unit with distinct systems, but with wafer thin margins it can be a struggle to justify the necessary investment to make this work. The business case is much easier to build when IoT capabilities are baked into the core BSS/OSS stack, and as Richard concluded in the panel, the mantra must be automation automation automation
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