In early 2019, MATRIXX commissioned IDC, a global provider of market intelligence to the technology industry, to survey 300 enterprises and SMBs worldwide. We wanted to better understand how businesses view the quality of service they get from mobile service providers, particularly as 5G gathers pace and telcos move their focus from enhanced mobile broadband to IoT and enterprise-oriented services.
Challenges in the Telco and Enterprise Partnership
The survey suggested that some fundamental challenges still need to be overcome if enterprises are to view operators as credible strategic partners in future IoT and other transformative projects.
For example, simply providing enterprise customers with reliable and predictable bills and charging information remains a challenge. Over 60% of customers in all regions reported regular overspending against forecast with unexpected roaming charges being a significant factor.
Many enterprises find operator pricing to be unclear, and their confusion is exacerbated by poor visibility of ongoing spend. The charges on their invoice often come as an unwelcome surprise, with two out of three businesses stating they had disputed their bills on one or more occasions in the past year. In addition, 40% believe that costly and longwinded dispute processes negatively impact their business efficiency.
What Enterprises Want From Telco
Telcos should be concerned that they are often perceived negatively by the very customers that they will depend on for future revenues from 5G and IoT.
The survey found that almost 60% of enterprises would strongly consider moving to a provider that gave them more control over their services and greater transparency of spending and usage. In particular, they want to be able to set clear spending limits for their employees, be notified when spending limits were in danger of being breached and have clear visibility of ongoing usage.
Enterprises want the ability to organize and control their spending and services in the simple and effortless ways that the digital consumer market has come to take for granted. The digital transformation of consumer telecoms (specifically, the introduction of digital self-care) has been shown to reduce costs for operators and improve the customer experience. To date, however, it has not made its way into the mobile B2B, even with a clear need for these kinds of offerings.
Gearing up for 5G Success
Enterprises want to focus on their core business. They don’t want to spend large amounts of time and money on disputes and other expense management activities that often result from poor pricing and spend transparency. Operators who understand where and how they can fix ongoing issues and bridge capability gaps will benefit today and could gain prime position for tomorrow’s key enterprise revenue.
5G is almost upon us, bringing with it new and lucrative enterprise opportunities. Telcos could be partners to enterprise during and after these transformative changes, not just suppliers of connectivity. However, this will only happen if they can gain the trust and commitment of their enterprise customers. Addressing today’s critical issues could mean the difference between benefitting only from simple connectivity — or rising much higher in the 5G value chain.