The New Battleground for Telecoms Innovation: Voice

Vodafone has reported a £3.3bn loss for the first half of the year, citing higher interest rates, competition and some assets dropping in value as the main causes, but has also reported that despite this, profits are still on target for the year (source: BBC Online).

Also this week a study by the comparison internet site Uswitch.com said that 5.5 million customers in the UK are unhappy with the level of service they are receiving from their home phone provider, with a satisfaction survey of 50,000 telecoms consumers reaching all-time lows this year (source: City A.M.)

Strategists Logan Orviss International comments that voice calls may herald a new greenfield in terms of opportunities to innovate amongst European telecoms operators from both the fixed-line and mobile arena. In Europe, mobile operators are increasingly moving into the fixed-line/home arena demonstrating the perceived opportunity from offering combinatorial packages to consumers. But Logan Orviss warns that despite facing diminishing returns from voice, voice calling remains the basic link between telecoms operators and customers. The voice arena should be constantly and readily addressed by innovative measures for operators to improve revenue streams and keep customers from churning to other providers – primarily due to dissatisfaction with their service.

“Both mobile and fixed-line operators need to compete on voice – the bedrock of the telecoms industry. They must implement new ways of enticing customers to make more phone calls, requiring the operators to upgrade their infrastructure and networks for low-cost voice calling. Meanwhile they must place a large emphasis on marketing voice-based packages to consumers effectively so that people use their phones for more than just SMS or to connect a broadband network,” said Brendan Logan, President and CEO of Logan Orviss.

“Facing a consistently falling revenue stream from voice, the former bedrock of the industry, the telecoms operators that are competitive are those who are still making voice work. They need to ensure they have compelling packages for consumers and effectively market combinatorial packages of voice and data, especially faced with the threat of VoIP as the price for voice services falls to zero. IMS networks – for some operators – will be a good bet to ensuring they have the underlying infrastructure required to support innovation in value-added services, while ensuring voice is well-packaged,” said Logan.