The direct impact of chatbots, IM, or any messaging service on a telecom operator (MNO) starts up with revenue dip for voice services; however, a thorough look at the issue shows it is more than that! MNO’s are losing the war to own the subscriber. With such applications that are taking over the mobile ecosystem, MNO’s are becoming a mere mode of connectivity. Losing a huge percentage of their voice revenues to such apps, they are in battle for the ownership of the subscriber, with all his info & digital commerce activities.
In 2006, handset manufacturers tried their luck with proposing a SIM-less phone. The resistance was so immense by the MNO’s and SIM vendors that the battle was lost the minute it was proposed. Today, the whole picture is different. In the background of the portrait, the MNO’s stand helpless since their role is being minimized to data connectivity operator. With big players like Facebook, Apple, & Google, who currently own the subscribers & their data (whether MNO’s like it or not), it is a matter of time before a new evolution comes up. More IM & chatbots applications are coming up: imo, WeChat, Line, etc.
The rise of a new data technology that requires no SIM card would end the MNO’s role in terms of traditional telecom ecosystem that we know. A new era would rise making way to such companies to take out such MNO’s. How would the ecosystem change? Let us wait the upcoming techs & trends.
So you think your mobile is safe and that you are protected by your antivirus! Well, your mobile is safe until you give the permission to share your data. Upon installing applications like TrueCaller, you give the application access to your address book. Thus the application uploads all your contact cards and stores your address book into the company’s server.
So all your contacts are shared. All your family contacts are shared. All your friends contacts are shared. All you business contacts are shared. What happens to this data?! This is shared with millions of people around the world without the consent of your contacts (family, friends, business contacts, acquaintances).
Most probably this data will become the biggest centralized contact data storage in the world (always updated). Truecaller might sell premium services to customers who are willing to pay for such data.
So in other words, YOU are a big threat to your data by giving such applications access to your info and data.
So I decided to change from STC due to bad service. The reason for that is the lousy customer service by STC, whether through call center, walk-in centers, or online applications (especially while roaming). I have stopped services on STC and they still billed me for these stopped services. So I grabbed my phone and headed down the road to Mobily walk-in center hoping their welcome services & knowledge would be better!
To my amazement, the CC agent had to swap over 10 cards without giving us any reason for the delay. He was consulting with is colleague about the issue and not knowing what to do and why the system was not accepting the cards. We left and decided to come back after dark. On our next visit, the issue of the cards has been solved; however, upon activating the service, the CC agent (another agent) did not know what kind of data packages Mobily had!!!!!! All I could think about was: if this guy worked for me, I would fire him on the spot!
To add to my fury, I have applied for a package through USSD and it has been over 24 hours without any feedback from their system! I am not sure what kind of customer service does any of the two leading operators in KSA give. With such bad quality of service from both MNO’s, I am pretty sure that the poorest & most mismanaged MNO in Africa does not have such bad customer experience! I would have expected a lot more from a multi-billion dollars worth MNO’s.
In a country which has 3 MNO’s, over 50 million subscribers, and huge margins of profit in billions of Saudi Riyals, Saudi Arabia’s Mobile ecosystem seems to be perfect on the outside. The market is sexy, appealing, and profitable to any MNO or MVNO. The market is still underutilized in several fields of technology but not in network resources (overloaded). M2M, cloud, Mobile Financial services, & data are among these yet to be utilized efficiently in such market.