Where's Consumer? Flawed Market Analytics for Mobile Data

Tuomas Pippola
February 29, 2024
5 min


In the age where data is the new oil, you'd expect the mobile telecommunications industry to be finely tuned to the needs and wants of its ultimate benefactors: the consumers. Yet, as we dived into the abundance of market reports and analytics in our quest to simply connect users, we stumbled upon a glaring oversight. The industry and market analysis firms seems to focus on mere technology prowess and continues to neglect the very people telecom serves.

A Techno-Centric Mirage

We observed that the current landscape of market analytics in mobile telecommunications is a techno-centric mirage. Reports are brimming with classifications based on technology—2G, 3G, 4G, and the much-vaunted 5G. But here's the kicker: the average consumer couldn't care less. As it was with video calls and 3G. Just ask your neighbour if they prefer 3G or 4G, and you're likely to be met with a blank stare. What they do care about is simple: "Can I watch my videos without buffering? Can I video call my grandkids without it freezing every three seconds?"

Yet, the industry continues to persist in its myopic view, measuring everything in megabytes and gigabytes of data consumption, as if these metrics have any real significance to the daily lives of consumers. It's akin to measuring the quality of a meal by its calorie count rather than its taste and nutritional value.

The Ghost in the Machine: The Consumer

In this vast expanse of technological jargon, backward-looking data, and forward looking projections the consumer is the ghost in the machine. Rarely do we find insights into what consumers actually want from their mobile data plans. Or from their operators. The limited consumer-focused data we unearthed revolves around how many people use mobile data, their average data consumption, their Average Revenue Per User (ARPU), and the number of individuals left in the digital dark ages without mobile data. But what about their preferences, their frustrations, and their desires? What about what really matters?

The Missed Opportunity

This oversight is not just a trivial omission; it represents a colossal missed opportunity. A missed opportunity for more than a quarter of century - since times of developing and introducing 3G. In an era where personalisation, simple apps, and consumer-centric services are the golden tickets to loyalty and market leadership, the telecommunications industry's continued overfocus on technology over people is akin to shooting itself in the foot. By ignoring the consumer's voice, the industry continues to churn out one-size-fits-all solutions that are as engaging as watching paint dry.

A Call for Change

It's high time for a paradigm shift. Imagine a world where telecommunications companies leverage simple, consumer-centric offerings, like simple connections for specific durations tailored to the consumer's needs—not based on how many megabytes they might consume but on how they want to use their data. Imagine tools that allow operators to engage with consumers, understand their needs, and tailor offerings that resonate on a personal level.

The Future Is Consumer-Centric

As we stand on the edge of this change, we can't help but think: no wonder the industry is at risk of becoming just another utility, indistinguishable from the next. And little surprise that the tech geeks, with their heads buried in the telco technology, continue to miss out on the opportunity to create absolutely simple, truly winning consumer propositions and apps.

The time is ripe for the industry to wake up and smell the coffee. The future is not in the technology; it's in understanding and catering to the consumer. Only then can we move beyond being mere purveyors of data to becoming essential partners in our consumers' daily lives. Let's not wait for the future to become history before we act. The consumer-centric revolution in mobile data is not just necessary; it's inevitable.

It is time to simply connect.

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