How telcos can partner with Emerging Tech startups to go leaner and upgrade the customer experience

How telcos can partner with Emerging Tech startups to go leaner and upgrade the customer experience

In the digital age, buzzwords like robotics, AI, automation, machine learning, and big data are everywhere. But for telcos there’s a knowledge gap around deploying new innovations. In fact 88% of telco leaders say they don’t have enough knowledge of emerging technologies and digital transformation.

We’re here to share a few ways telcos can apply an emerging technology lens to their digital strategy to operate leaner, diversify revenue from digital sources, and meet evolving consumer demands.

What do we mean when we talk about emerging technologies for telecoms?

Emerging technologies are technological developments that will “substantially alter the business and social environment,” including IT, wireless data communication, man-machine communication, on-demand printing, bio-technologies, and advanced robotics.

For telcos, 2 mega-trends offer opportunities to drive revenue, margins, and customer experience with emerging technology.

Building digital partnerships in these areas will set up today’s telcos for the future:

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  • Virtualization and cloud computing

AI can automate pieces of telcos’ technology and customer experience that are currently a drain on human resources.

If you’re looking for ways to reduce costs and make your subscribers happier at the same time, look no further. According to EY, customer experience improvements are the top rationale for AI in telecoms, with agility the key driver of automation adoption. Early adopters of a more streamlined digital experience have seen a 30% reduction in customer-facing costs.

Partnerships with startups and other emerging tech players are a great way to implement AI-powered digital solutions quickly.

Image: startus Insights

52% of telcos see startup partners as a strategic priority for growth  Source: EY

High-value use cases for AI include chatbots and robotic process automation (RPA) softwares which automate the customer experience, and predictive analytics that help streamline network maintenance and customize offers to individual consumer behaviors.

We recommend telco managers look closely at the pain points and roadblocks currently baked into the customer journey, including network inefficiencies and customer support bottlenecks, to identify where AI can have the most impact quickly.

In the Brigr team’s work with global telcos, we’ve identified a few user groups who often run into challenges:

  • Users who have depleted their data balance
  • Users who are traveling and need to access data abroad

These two groups have real-time needs in specific use cases like transportation, banking, and gaming that emerging technologies can help with.

At Brigr, we help telcos make the best use of this data to meet subscribers’ needs for data connectivity, even when they have a depleted balance or are roaming abroad.

There’s a growing ecosystem of startups like Riaktr who build machine learning and analytics tools to help telcos surface the intelligence on their subscribers’ behaviors and preferences to make data-based decisions. Telcos already have massive amounts of invaluable user data, and now startup partners can help them use it to solve subscribers’ pains in real-time and completely transform the customer experience.

Virtualization and cloud-enabled solutions can reduce or replace expensive infrastructure and open opportunities for profitable partnerships

For decades telcos have grabbed market share by building more and better network infrastructure, which is incredibly expensive, and inefficient to boot - PwC estimates telcos waste up to $65 billion a year in capex.

These days the maturation of cloud networks allows telcos to diversify capex investments into projects that generate more revenue at a cheaper price tag. Certain core telco functions are moving into the cloud, like network maintenance and security, and we’re seeing more and more telcos (AT&T for example) prioritize these strategies.

What really excites us is the agility telcos gain by detaching from wired infrastructure (network function virtualization or NFV. They can now integrate with nearly infinite IT providers who bring niche expertise to solve specific customer pains like the ones above that cause significant pain for our clients’ subscribers

A recent uptick in VC funding for telecom-focused startups shows that startup players are taking notice too. Here are a few startups making waves in the world of telecoms:

Over at Brigr we pride ourselves on how easy our enterprise data and customer loyalty platform is to integrate with a telco’s existing system - it doesn’t require any fancy AI or any capex investment to start using, so it’s perfect for technology and customer experience departments looking to get their feet wet with new digital, cloud-based partners.

Want to learn more about how startup partners can help you grow revenue for cheap in the 2020s? We love to talk! Connect with us at