This week’s Q&A is with Steve Attard, Senior Product Owner at Ratepath.
Ratepath was founded in 2015 in London and Dublin, as an agile response to telecom pricing research. The company put together a small, agile team that went on to build a comprehensive, global real-time market research platform that tracks millions of data points worldwide, and then presents the data in easy-to-use tabular reports, custom alerts and related subscription services.
Today, Ratepath provides the most comprehensive real-time pricing reports in the industry. All reports are updated within one hour of delivery, and Ratepath’s annual subscribers receive customized e-mail updates of target price changes and unlimited enterprise-wide downloads of their reports, which are constantly updated.
Steve covers the latest developments the telecom industry, the key factors affecting mobile networks’ national rates in the EU and much more.
Q. What were the most interesting developments in the telecom industry in 2016? How will these developments impact the industry during the next five years?
Everyday in 2016, consumers in the US alone looked at their Smartphone more than 9 billion times a day. These are not just teenagers, because the highest growth in Smartphone sales was among the 45+ categories.
What slice of that value are the ‘traditional’ players in the telecom industry capturing? That value is going heavily to the OTT providers. These new players are in the process of massively disrupting the telecom industry and operators are shook to the core. The industry is ever-more competitive and pricing and propositions are driven by smartphones and cellular data-pricing.
Ratepath works closely with communication service providers that now need to track thousands of data points from websites, comparison sites, facebook stores, Instagram stores and many more in order to price their propositions and build their product portfolios, whilst facing incredible pressure to reduce operational costs. These themes are now defining the next five years and beyond for everyone in the industry.
Q. What are the benefits of using Ratepath’s Telecom Research Platform? Can the reports, notifications and alerts be tailored to a specific businesses’ needs?
On the front line of this epic shift in competitive and operational complexity are the pricing managers, digital managers and business development professionals who come into work everyday trying to reduce costs and compete more effectively. How do they keep on top of thousands of data points and take on these global competitors? Ratepath provides them with reports and alerts that allow them to still find ways to increase revenue and retention by staying ahead in a complex, competitive market environment.
In order to tailor our reports and notifications, we offer complimentary analyst hours through which we configure our clients reports, alerts and notifications according to their business needs. For example, pricing managers receive alerts on changes to their target competitors’ data pricing. Digital marketers are alerted when a new handset is trending, allowing them to target their PPC budget accordingly.
When a Ratepath price change alert comes in on our client’s phone, they can act quickly to respond to an important price change by a competitor. When a Ratepath report comes in at 06:00, the commercial manager is fully equipped with market insight going into her daily commercial meeting. When your digital managers review their PPC campaigns, they can use Ratepath trending data to target their budget towards the latest trending handsets. This quick response is key for communication service providers to continue growing revenue and improving margin in such a competitive environment.
Q. What are the biggest challenges facing mobile networks and MVNOs in 2017? What impact, if any, are these having on prepaid and postpaid consumer plans?
Telecom consumers are using more cellular data and looking at their smartphone screens more times per day in 2017 than ever before. Every day, a new app is trending and a new use case is at the top of your customers’ minds.
Whilst all this is happening, telecom professionals are being pressured to reduce operational costs and manual processes, whilst still required to grow revenue and margin.
Prepaid and postpaid consumer plans are therefore increasingly becoming more cellular-data led and are being targeted to more specific channels, markets and customer segments. We founded Ratepath to help operators achieve this. Ratepath provides an automated platform that supports the complexity, scale and reliability required to continue increasing revenue, margin and retention in an increasingly complex and competitive market environment.
Q. What are the key factors affecting mobile networks’ national rates in the EU?
We track millions of data points worldwide, and our analysis shows that national rates in the EU are among the most stable rates in the market.
We don’t see as much price sensitivity to national rates as we do to bundles and plans. We believe national rates are less market-driven and it is gross margin that is a key factor affecting these rates.
The real front lines in national pricing are the bundles and plans offered in prepaid, postpaid and especially bundled with handset deals. The most exciting part of our product is the complexity to track and manage thousands of different types and structures of national plans and data bundles. Operators aim to ‘stack up the value’ of a plan, by increasing data, minute and text allocations, in order to maintain a higher price-point. Operators also sometimes increase the complexity of their plans, deliberately or otherwise, which is now making it impossible for a pricing analyst to manually track multiple competitors’ price points and bundle configurations across all operating markets and channels.
Q. Outside of those you already cover, what other industries do you find interesting? Have you ever considered covering this industry?
We are most excited about fast-changing, competitive industries and most industries are moving that way. Disruption is bringing new challenges across the board, so we founded Ratepath as part of a new generation of research companies that are more agile and software-driven.
We are currently developing hundreds of new reports each month in the TMT sector, especially around mobile, IoT and OTT, including video. Our platform however is being built to scale. We want to work with companies in any industry who are looking to move from outdated, offline and incomplete reports and databases to a partnership with an agile company that can address their data needs in this new complex and highly competitive environment.
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About the Interviewee:
Steve is an entrepreneurial digital product manager with 15 years' experience in commercial and operational management in telecoms and digital. Steve has led and supported the launch of over 20 Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) around the world for leading operators including Vodafone, T-Mobile and Lebara. Steve is passionate about customer development through Agile and Lean Start-Up methodologies.