Mobile operators currently lack the capabilities to make full use of data in the digital healthcare space, McKinsey partner Harrison Lung (pictured, third from left) explained, noting such abilities today are more likely to lie with large internet players.

In a panel session, Lung explained operators have traditionally struggled to build and generate revenue from new sectors “at least in a short period of time”. They also face “challenges in incubating and developing new talents”.

He advised operators to transform their internal structures to “operate in an agile manner while focusing on the right skill sets that are needed” including data scientists.

A crucial element, though, is to “operate in a manner that is secure and private for subscribers”.

Elena Gil Lizasoain, CEO of Telefonica’s Luca data business (pictured, third from right), countered by noting many operators have embarked on digital transformation which is bringing them valuable experience of big data and AI and standing them in good stead to target healthcare opportunities.

Telefonica is already generating revenue from the health sector, she said.