Mature telcos are taking back the data throne from Big Tech...and building new revenue streams while they do it

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Mobility data matters now more than ever.

Data from telcos has emerged as a ground truth of information, helping us make decisions that save businesses, cities, and even lives. With anonymized and aggregated mobility data derived from telco’s mobile networks, telcos are equipped to tackle tomorrow’s information challenges without compromising individual privacy. 

Telcos have, for many years, held an important position in society. Before social media and over-the-top solutions, how did we get in touch with one another? We called. Eventually, we also texted through SMS. Telcos provided both services, and they gained years and years of revenue growth in the process with little real competition.

With the rise of Big Tech, and later, the rise of smaller fast-moving tech companies, telcos have seen their position shift from being a standalone provider to one of many in the connectivity solutions market. The services that only telcos facilitated are now consumed over the Internet at lower cost to users. This, naturally, has an impact on the telco’s position in society but also their revenues. Moreover, big tech companies have seen tremendous growth by deploying their understanding of people’s digital behavior on-line to create better and more profitable products. This is a data game that telcos could never win. 

The world needs and craves data, but can all data be trusted? 

The first commercial telephone services were set up in 1878 and 1879 on both sides of the Atlantic in the cities of New Haven, Connecticut in the US and London, England in the UK. Alexander Graham Bell held the master patent for the telephone that was needed for such services in both countries. Telcos have played an important role in society ever since, building a trusted reputation step by step for close to 150 years that few other companies can claim. 

Source: BBC

Cambridge Analytica and the Russian influence of the US election has shown how easily Big Tech can lose public trust. Providing insights about human behavior requires great discipline and rigid frameworks to ensure no commercial or political motivations can outweigh the rights of any individual. Wielding such a power requires trust that can only be built over time. Telcos are perfectly positioned to enter the data space responsibly because of their long-lasting generational relationship with the global population.

So the question is, how should telcos respond to this new reality? 

Answer: Telcos can beat Big Tech at their own game by safely leveraging their unique mobile network data for human mobility purposes

Tip: Unacast Turbine is the world’s number one platform for telco data processing and doing this in multiple European countries under GDPR

One of the strategies telcos are moving towards is to start leveraging their dormant mobile network data and generate anonymized and aggregated human mobility insights. With the vast amount of data from telco mobile networks, telcos can provide unique insights that no other business can provide. More and more mature telcos are seeing that bringing their data to life is not only good for business, but good for society. 

Examples of telco mobility data in action: 

  • Telia in the Nordics is providing mobility insights to help urban developers, retailers, hospitality services and more make better decisions
  • Dialog Axiata in Sri Lanka is providing mobility insights to John Hopkins University, to help them in their fight against Dengue Fever in Sri Lanka
  • MTN Nigeria is using mobility data to understand the impact mobility has on the spread of COVID-19 (disease control)

Dashboard example for retail use case with data processed by Unacast Turbine and dashboard built with CARTO:

How to succeed with data monetization? 

… is a question many telco boards are discussing these days

  1. The first step is to realize the value that telco data has for the telco’s business and for society
  2. The second step is to understand how to safely and effectively transform the data from raw mobile network data, into usable and understandable mobility insights.. 
  3. Lastly, one needs to understand how to build the end products and solutions that clients can easily consume and purchase (sales).

Unacast is the world’s number one Telco Data Monetization Partner

Unacast has built a strong competence around telco data processing and monetization. Through partnerships with multiple telcos from all over the world, we have proven that our platform, Unacast Turbine™, is able to safely process our client’s data and that we are able to help them succeed in their go to market approach. 

More information about Unacast and Unacast Turbine™ can be found here. If you have questions and want a free consultation with one of our location data experts, schedule a meeting or


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