LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS SHANGHAI 2017: Operators must prepare for falling consumer data prices to reach zero in the next five to ten years, Telstra CEO Andrew Penn warned during his keynote today.

Discussing the need for operators to diversify away from being exclusively connectivity providers, Penn (pictured) said he believed eventually the price for the provision of data would fall towards nothing and operators must focus on providing other services on top of connectivity.

“There is a real possibility the price for data to the customer will go to zero in the next five to ten years,” he said, adding operators must ensure they offered wider, consumer-friendly services to continue to be relevant and avoid falling down the value chain.

He outlined the danger of spending too much time thinking about the range of “cool technology” being demonstrated at the show and not enough on how the innovations would be delivered for the good of the customer.

He advocated ensuring new products are designed to be intuitive and customer friendly – pointing to services from internet-based firms such as Netflix. These, he added, must also have transparent pricing structures to avoid bill shock.

Telstra has introduced a range of initiatives to improve the user interface of new services after conducting an investigation of its customer service calls.

Penn reported 90 per cent of queries to its telephone customer service team analysed could have been avoided by improvements in the technology or improved customer care with new technologies.