Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Monty Mobile - A new perspective for operators in the telecommunication sector

An interview with Monty Mobile CEO Mountasser Hachem, on the telecommunications industry

Published: Mar 15, 2019 01:17:51 PM IST
Updated: Mar 18, 2019 12:09:04 PM IST

Monty Mobile - A new perspective for operators in the telecommunication sector
Mr. Mountasser Hachem, CEO, Monty Mobile

How do you assess the current situation of mobile operators?
Many mobile operators are struggling with their margins these days due to several factors: the cannibalization of OTT for their profits, spectrum availability, high CAPEX and OPEX cost, regulatory issue, among other different challenges. Accordingly, operators are always on the lookout to diversifying their portfolios (digital, MFS, IoT, ICT) and for new streams of revenue and trying to adapt to the new operating models! If they stick to the legacy way of doing business, they will become a mere legacy channel rather than innovators. It is a big dilemma that is reaping a lot of executives along the way.
What do you think are the greatest challenges facing mobile operators today?
The expanded competition from OTT providers like WhatsApp are causing a significant decline in ARPU (Average Revenue per User) for most mobile operators worldwide. The legacy voice services are dwindling while OTT’s and Social Media players are making billions of dollars through their innovation. OTT’s, social media players, and cloud-based players are offering innovative services at very attractive packages. They are also adapting to the changing customer behavior much faster than mobile operators.

Very few operators are looking into new streams of revenue which include IoT, smart cities, MFS and digital in order to fill up the gaps for the declining revenues. This is where Monty Mobile plays a major role in partnering with such operators.

Will Mobile Operators keep on facing such big losses? And how can they reverse that to increase their revenue?
In reality, despite the challenges I have mentioned, not all mobile operators compete with each other using the classical way: offering voice and data bundles. They have moved into a different strategy that is profitable by monetizing some of the revenue cannibalized by the intro of OTT applications.

Mobile operators have a lot of lost opportunities when it comes to Customer Data, Value Added Services, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Money, Financial services, or others. Unfortunately, they are not aware of such opportunities, or maybe not utilizing them in the right way.

Social Media players are making billions of dollars through mobile advertising, while the operators are doing nothing! As a matter of fact, operators are the owners of a huge pool of customer data. If such data is monetized properly through Customer Profiling and Data Analytics, the operator can monetize such services and drive mobile advertising, for example, around it! The use of such data is endless.

How can you at Monty Mobile help operators maximize their revenue?

Our main mission at Monty Mobile is to help operators maximize their revenues and to support them through better ways to invest in innovative revenue-generating opportunities. We are also ready to invest with them in a lot of cases. We always want a win-win situation in such deals.

To that end, Monty Mobile – the leading GSMA Certified SMS and Roaming Hub, and one of the leading VAS providers– has developed an advanced Data Analytics platform, in addition to a wide portfolio of Value Added Services and BSS solutions that cater for every operator’s need in such hard times.
Please discuss which part of your business is currently generating the biggest profits, and why do you think that is?

We are in a leading position in the region in terms of our SMS business and all of our services generate good profits; however, we are changing our strategy and developing into a holistic solution provider and partner for operators. Lately, we have started diversifying into VAS, BSS, and Enterprise solutions as well.

Our SMS monetization products are known among operators and thus we keep upgrading and enhancing them. We have entered into the VAS space trying to do things differently: our mobile advertising service called M-Rewards engages operators & media companies into a new way of advertising, allowing both to generate revenues.

We have also researched some of the pains that operators go through and have come up, in the roaming domain, with RID, a BSS solution that helps the operator automate and centralize a lot of its roaming activities. We have different roaming solutions and roaming SIMs that allow the subscribers to ‘Go Global and Pay Local’.

In addition, our in-house solutions designed and developed to cater for today’s dynamic market needs from finance, revenue boosting services to big data analytics, all proved to be successful revenue streams that operators cannot afford to ignore.

Finally, what are your thoughts on the region as a place to do business today?
There are lots of opportunities as well as lots of challenges in the region, in different markets and fields especially in telecom. These opportunities are getting slimmer day by day so an agile, lean approach is seriously needed. Innovation and adaptation are a must!

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