The Road to Monetizing Subscriber Behavior

How Smart Data can deliver critical customer insights

Gentlemen looking out windows on cell with tablet in his hand.

In the back of every communications service provider’s (CSP’s) mind when it comes to the deployment of 5G is reaching that elusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Monetizing 5G services will be essential to justify the high cost of rolling out extensive new radio access network (RAN), core, and edge technologies. However, the lack of killer applications has made it difficult to see a clear path to revenue. This has many CSPs downshifting their investment strategies.

Often-mentioned targets for monetization include robotics, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), smart cities, autonomous cars, video security analysis, automated manufacturing, and healthcare. But the simple reality is that these targets are not yet producing revenue streams that warrant the investments.

One of the clearest and most promising paths to monetization is leveraging critical subscriber insights to achieve network personalization. This avenue is so promising that a recent report estimated the global 5G services market will grow from $121.8 billion in 2023 to $1002.3 billion by 2028. This indicates a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 52.4 percent. 

The Importance of Understanding Subscriber Behavior

Before you can monetize subscriber behavior, you have to be able to understand it in a very granular way. Traditionally, CSPs have been focused on service assurance, making sure that the subscriber experience is excellent. This requires being able to see what subscribers are doing on the network, whether it be voice, streaming video, or gaming. Details regarding the latency, throughput, and quality of experience of each subscriber are key. Relevant key performance indicators (KPIs) based on voice quality, latency, drops, and pixelization can provide much-needed insights into the user experience.

However, to truly cash in on network personalization, CSPs need to go deeper. They need to tap into precisely what subscribers are doing on their devices. When network traffic service data, device data, location, and billing data are married together, tremendous monetization potential becomes possible. One need look no further than what cutting-edge companies such as Google and Amazon are doing with granular user insights to build individual profiles that allow for more targeted monetization efforts.

CSPs have a wealth of user data available to them, but the key is being able to tap into it and then maximize it in a way that can deliver results. Needless to say, this data absolutely must be handled with the utmost care, protecting the identities of users through the use of filtering and masking technologies.

Just Any Old Data Will Not Suffice!

It should go without saying that any effort to leverage data for critical monetization insights will be only as good as the data it is founded on. The old saying “garbage in, garbage out” is certainly a truism. Good, actionable data is key to the success of any service assurance and monetization efforts. It makes good sense to tap into NETSCOUT’s highly intelligent Smart Data for assurance, analytics, and security purposes.

As CSPs look to the user plane to exploit next-generation monetization use cases, Smart Data will be instrumental in the development of multi-access edge computing (MEC) and 5G slicing, which in turn will power 5G enterprise services and cloud gaming—to mention just a few of the nascent opportunities.

Network personalization will also benefit from Smart Data. This intelligent data can be used to feed big data lakes that can then be used to power next-gen artificial intelligence (AI) and AIOps that leverage machine learning. Armed with the analytics derived from Smart Data, CSPs will have a chance to begin cashing in on the pot of gold at the end of that data rainbow.

Extensive Instrumentation Is Key to 5G Visibility and Deeper Insights

At the heart of any effort to leverage network personalization to achieve greater monetization is the ability to deploy extensive instrumentation for effective 5G network visibility and deeper subscriber insights. Having visibility into the user plane traffic from the core and the RAN can open the door to new use cases. In the tourism industry, for example, these insights could be derived from venue analytics, area analysis, and hotel and restaurant offers. In retail, Smart Data can help target marketing through analytics of retail locations and store visitor activities. It can be used for mobile advertising, location promotions, and out-of-home analytics as well as geomarketing, customer care, and location-based charging. In the finance industry, such data can be an invaluable tool in combating credit card and insurance fraud, as well as for speeding up transaction verification.

One of the biggest challenges of monitoring the user plane is the high cost, due to the sheer volume of data, voice, and over-the-top traffic. NETSCOUT has solved that problem. CSPs can take advantage of virtualized instrumentation with subscription pricing, making this a far more cost-effective monitoring solution. As CSPs look to monetize 5G networks, Smart Data will be the key to unlocking new opportunities for leveraging network personalization to drive critically important revenue streams. The road to monetization starts here!

Learn more about how NETSCOUT supports affordable network personalization.