People check their phones on average once every 12 minutes. Why? One could say it partially has to do with a significant decrease in attention span. Yet, no one is to blame as smartphones provide an unlimited source of entertainment, capabilities, emotions, and quasi-human interactions. Most millennials saw phones slowly becoming an integral part of their lives, and gone are the days when phones were, well…just phones. Once they looked beyond the screen, the reason behind their power is evident. Phones hold fast access to limitless amounts of data, which can be reached from anywhere, at any time. In fact, this very article is probably being read on a smartphone, and that data is only made accessible by telecommunication companies.
Although telecommunications, more commonly referred to as Telecoms, are not necessarily a daily topic of discussion, they are the biggest enablers of daily habits. These companies started with our great-great-grandparents, and are still incredibly relevant. Like millennials, they had to adapt to changing technologies and practices. They are the ones behind the network which allowed regular mobile phones to become smartphones, and streaming platforms like Netflix to replace cable television. They are so relevant and dare we say powerful, that even Hasan Minhaj’s Patriot Act dedicated an episode to shine a light on the lack of nationwide efficient broadband across the United States. It is so important that people rely on these companies to do their homework and access healthcare expertise. It is an age-old industry but essential utility, that has withstood the test of time. To access this network, all a customer has to do is pay a monthly bill. But what if, beyond the bill, there was a possibility to invest in this long-standing industry? What if by paying that bill the customer could gain ownership over this evident monopoly?
Simply put, Telcoms have all the characteristics of a safe investment. The industry has been around for over 100 years, and, unlike many others, it had to embrace innovation. It is both disruptive and vulnerable — just think about the current 5G discussions. With customers becoming increasingly savvier about their data and expectations, Telcoms had to adapt and provide larger networks, while maintaining competitive costs. A recent move by local governments in the US deciding to provide internet access to citizens through their own means and not rely on the willingness of Telcoms. This has also led to the diversification of Telcom portfolios, as they are now converging with Media titans to provide the full package of premium content with unlimited connectivity. With the increasing demand for media content, the bandwidth of the network also needs a boost. For Telcoms, that means reinventing themselves once again and enable their customers to view and experience media through all their channels and devices.
By rolling out these new services, Telecoms have to focus on the customer experience. As such, they are relying on a circular feedback loop with customers to continuously improve their offerings. This not only leads to a smoother user experience but also provides a sense of ownership from customers as they see their feedback taken seriously. This is the future of Telcoms. As more than just a network provider, Telecom will rely on their customer relationships to differentiate themselves from incumbents and new entrants. With rewards programs such as Bits, Telcoms can start fostering that relationship and leverage it to the advantage of both their customers and the industry. By engaging users through ownership, users will feel empowered and help the Telcom industry transition into the next stage of customer empowerment.