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ABCDE of Data Monetization – 1

Data Monetization

Series 1 – The D Factor – Devices

DATA democratization & monetization are two words almost as powerful as “Glasnost” & “Perestroika” and with the rapid digitization of everything around; it’s a cause of excitement and anxiety amongst many.

For a traditional telecom MNO, it also means growing CAPEX. The laps in the race, from 2G to 5G, are becoming shorter and faster! And perpetual quest to improve data monetization (especially in developing markets) remains.

Here is my personal reflection on 5 Factors and I shall cover it in 5 short articles, The ABCDE of Data Monetization:-

A – Availability & Awareness

B – Base Management

C – Content Play

D – Device Ecosystem

E – Experience & Engagement


I’m starting with D factor since I believe it to be the most important and then follow up with other parameters discussed above as well

Every telecom expert from developing market would probably agree;

a)     Data revenue is directly proportional to the screen size of the phone i.e. A 5 inch screen gives almost 2x data ARPU compared to a 3.5 inch.

b)     Smartphones (even with penetration of 15-25% in most developing markets) contributes 80-90% of data Usage and revenue.

c)      Social sites like FB, Whatsapp, Snapchat drive usage stickiness in form of frequency of days of usage or ADOU, however video sites like Youtube and porn sites are what drives big usage volumes.

However, what I want to share are 3 concepts which I find important for a marketer to consider if you want to drive the market and grow faster than competition;

1.      Share of Smartphone Acquisition (SOA)

(SOA) Share of Acquisition is literally the market share of devices which can be calculated as;

SOA = # of New Smartphone on our network /Total number of smartphone sold in the market

In most developing market, 95% of smartphone are sold in open market outside the control of MNO players’ distribution network and hence customers go by perception of their 2G usage or F&F advice to choose the data network.

A comprehensive strategy to win this KPI would lead to better data monetization.


a.      Customer value proposition for bringing their smartphone on your network. It can be as simple as bundled MBs or Freebies that support “Data Guzzling” like a Power Bank or Security Camera which continues to drive more data usage.

b.     Retailer incentive program for recommending and driving new smartphone customer to our network.

c.      Back end tie-up integration with manufacturers or big retailers.

2.      Share of Smartphone Upgrades (SOU)

(SOU) Share of Upgrade is literally the market share of new smartphone devices on exiting IMSI. It’s relatively difficult to calculate and also a subset of earlier KPI however should be driven separately because of the intrinsic customer behavior to upgrade periodically in this segment.

According to a dipstick research in a developing market, a customer upgrades smartphone once every 18 months.

I’m sure you would have addressed this market through some innovative campaigns or program. Here are few examples


a.      Partnership with manufacturer or retailer for DEVICE EXCHANGE OFFER.

b.     LOYALTY Program around JUMP (Just Upgrade My Phone)

c.      Subsidy to existing base or competition base BTL for phone upgrades.

d.     Contract or Commitment Linked Upgrade programs

3.      Share of Device Extension (SOE)

This is possibly one game we have played less. How do we EXTEND beyond using devices, by providing incremental coverage or incremental utility?


a.      Incremental coverage – Outdoor antenna

Add outdoor device into your device portfolio to attract high value customers in dense location or SME at set up at outskirts where coverage is intermittent. This could be subsidized or sold at market value since it adds significant value in customer experience.

These often come with DIY instructions and omni directional antennas are pretty simple to install.


b.     Incremental utility – Security cameras

Without necessary starting a discussion of SMART HOMES or IOT & M2M, Home surveillance is one aspect which is becoming more popular.

Ability to get these devices simply from my MNO with an exciting bundle proposition and a Dummies guide on installation can help create first hand market for increased data usage. This is a clear example of Always On Data usage as connected with cloud for storage.

The IP based devices can be extended to PHOTO frames or VIDEO Calling Wireless desk phones as well

Relevance may vary from one geography to another. The idea is to provide more means to consume higher bandwidth.

Coming Next The B Factor : Base Management


Prasoon Lal is the Chief Marketing Officer at Bangalink, one of the largest cellular service providers in Bangladesh. Prasoon is a marketing professional with 15+ years of telecom experience in Africa & Asia. He has extensive people management experience in large, multi-faceted, multicultural and international settings.

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ABCDE of Data Monetization – 1


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