The Internet of Things (IoT) has emerged as a transformative force, connecting billions of devices and generating massive amounts of data. While the IoT offers numerous benefits in terms of efficiency, automation, and improved decision-making, it also presents a wealth of opportunities for monetization. Mobile network operators (MNOs) and the enterprise businesses they support can harness the power of the IoT to unlock new revenue streams and create innovative business models using just a few tools, examining several specific business use cases, and taking into account a few key considerations.
The Growth Potential of IoT Roaming Traffic:
IoT devices are increasingly being deployed globally, transcending borders and operating on various cellular networks. These devices, such as smart meters, connected vehicles, and industrial sensors, generate vast amounts of data that need to be transmitted across networks. Telecom operators can tap into this growth by facilitating IoT roaming, enabling devices to seamlessly connect and transmit data across borders. As the number of IoT devices continues to skyrocket, the monetization potential of roaming traffic becomes increasingly evident.
Identifying Those Devices to Enhance Profitability:
MNOs can take hold of the levers of IoT roaming solutions that improves the customers experience while watching new revenue flow in. IoT traffic differs greatly from standard consumer data, and roaming is no different. To optimize the customer experience, and gain greater control over cost management and profitability, service customization is absolutely critical for charging models and usage patterns. Achieving this boils down to a few simple things that operators need to do, including:
- Offering differentiated 5G IoT services that are uniquely tailored and highly customized toward customer needs
- Stimulating increased usage from low-spend and silent roamers
- Providing data usage transparency to subscribers and manage volumes to reduce wholesale costs
- Monitoring roaming usage in real time
Tailored IoT Roaming Plans:
To monetize IoT roaming traffic effectively, telecom operators need to develop specialized IoT roaming plans. These plans should cater specifically to the unique requirements of IoT devices, such as low data consumption, consistent connectivity, and cost efficiency. By offering customized plans, operators can attract IoT service providers, businesses seeking global connectivity, and other operator partners for their devices. Pricing models can be designed based on factors like data volume, device type, or the number of connected devices, allowing operators to capture value from IoT roaming traffic.
In addition to connectivity, MNOs can differentiate themselves by offering value-added services for IoT roaming. These services may include enhanced security measures, real-time device monitoring, or data analytics capabilities. By providing end-to-end solutions, MNOs can address the pain points of IoT service providers and businesses, adding value to their IoT deployments. Value-added services not only increase customer satisfaction, but also create additional revenue streams for operators in the form of service subscriptions or usage-based fees.
Partnering with IoT Service Providers:
Collaborating with IoT service providers can be a mutually beneficial strategy for telecom operators. By partnering with established players in the IoT ecosystem, MNOs can leverage their expertise and customer base to expand the reach of IoT roaming services. Mobile operators can offer preferential rates or revenue-sharing models to incentivize IoT service providers to choose their network for IoT roaming. This collaboration strengthens the overall IoT value chain and allows operators to tap into new markets and verticals.
Developing IoT Roaming Aggregators:
To streamline IoT roaming traffic monetization, MNOs can develop IoT roaming aggregators. These platforms act as intermediaries between IoT service providers and operators, providing a centralized hub for managing connectivity, billing, and service provisioning. IoT roaming aggregators simplify the complexities associated with managing multiple operator relationships and provide a seamless experience for IoT service providers. By operating such platforms, MNOs can monetize IoT roaming traffic efficiently while reducing operational overheads.
Exploring New Revenue Models:
Beyond traditional connectivity-based revenue models, MNOs can explore innovative approaches to monetize IoT roaming traffic. For instance, revenue-sharing agreements with IoT service providers can be established, where MNOs receive a percentage of the revenue generated from IoT services enabled by their network. Additionally, operators can explore partnerships with data analytics firms to extract insights from IoT roaming traffic data, offering valuable analytics reports to customers for a fee. Exploring these new revenue models expands the potential for revenue generation in the IoT roaming space.
Making the Transition from TAP to BCE to Build a Monetization Strategy Now:
Monetizing IoT roaming traffic presents a significant opportunity for MNOs to diversify their revenue streams and capitalize on the growth of emerging technologies such as IoT, MIoT, NB-IoT, and others. But the old way of doing business is no longer suitable, and that is why it’s imperative MNOs begin the transition from Transferred Account Procedures (TAP) to Billing & Charging Evolution (BCE) now. We’ve talked a lot about opportunity, but what does that opportunity actually look like?
First, the piece that involves identifying, monetizing, and categorizing untapped revenue streams has been left on the table for too long. MNOs, rather, need to understand what is happening on their networks and know how to turn insights into future activities. They also need to create financial win-win situations with their wholesale roaming partners and implement wholesale charging strategies that support retail to create this two-way avenue, where retail usage drives wholesale and wholesale enables retail. Lastly, to be successful, MNOs and their partners need to automate operational processes from transaction to settlement to scale their business.
Then, and only then, will MNOs themselves become more successful in earning their piece of the pie when it comes to monetizing IoT, rather than playing catch-up when it’s already too late.
Kathiravan is a Vice President of Product Management in the Carrier Business Unit of Syniverse. He is responsible for the management and growth of products that form Syniverse’s IoT and Private Wireless pillars. These ‘Next Generation Solutions’ drive the development of emerging connectivity products, such as Global SIM & eSIM, Private LTE, Sponsored Roaming, Open Connectivity Complete and Secure Global Access, and combine them in seamless ways to support various IoT use cases.
Kathiravan has been in the telecommunications industry for over 20 years and has been deployed around the world to deliver products and services, specializing in new product introduction. He has a bachelor’s degree in computing (Hons) from University of Portsmouth, UK, and has been PMP certified since 2009.