Mobile operators have acknowledged that there is considerable distance between themselves and Large Internet Players (LIP) like Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple, in terms of their capabilities to monetize their customer insights.
The general consensus is that they are at least two years behind the internet players – not through a lack of trying, but due to technical limitations, suggests the research from Analysys Mason.
The survey covered 50 operator respondents from across the world and sought to bring to light the challenges facing operators looking to successfully monetize customer data in a similar way to the LIPs.
Two-thirds of respondents placed high importance on personalised, contextual marketing based on customer insights, illustrating their desire make the most of the data available to them.
However, the research, conducted on behalf of AsiaInfo, highlights a "chasm that exists between the operators' new business ambitions and their readiness to compete," commented Justin van der Lande, who led the research for Analysys Mason.
"Operators want to make the most of the abundant customer data they have, but in technical terms they still have a long way to go," he added.
As far as European operators are concerned, nearly 60% also saw regulation as a major barrier to their ability to compete successfully.
Dr Andy Tiller, VP product marketing for AsiaInfo, believes there is an argument for giving more power to operators to "use data sensibly in a way which provides value to their customers."
The study results allowed Analysys Mason to categorize operators into four distinct groups. First, the transformers or those displaying both the vision and developing the IT tools required to create new business models based on their customer insights.
Second, the head-downers or those who have the tools but are focusing their capabilities on maximising their existing business, rather than applying them to new business models.
Third, the worriers or those with the vision but without the tools and data. And fourth, the unbelievers or those lacking both the vision and the required tools.