LIVE FROM DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION WORLD, NICE: Mobile operators generally hold an inflated view of their ability to sell internal services using data analytics, but underestimate the technology’s cost-cutting potential, Axiata Analytics Centre head Pedro Uria-Recio (pictured) told Mobile World Live.

In an interview, Uria-Recio said: “Typically telecom operators overestimate their ability to increase their own revenue through analytics, because it is not only about analytics. That information will tell you who is likely to buy something, but then you have to reach the customer through the right channel and make the right offer, so it goes far beyond.”

However, he added operators were generally behind the curve on taking advantage of data to improve network performance and cut overheads.

“The second case is reducing cost. Here, I think telecom operators underestimate their ability to optimise the network through [technologies such as] artificial intelligence,” he noted. “There are things you can do to optimise the antennas and location of the network assets.”

When it comes to external use cases and partnering with other industries, he added “there is huge potential, but telecom operators have not yet cracked it”.

Opportunities cited include credit scoring, fleet management and advertising, though he warned many of the most lucrative sectors are “difficult to get into” and require collaboration with vertical companies.

To aid its own efforts, Axiata Group has a team of around 170 people working in data science and analytics. The division works on both optimising its own processes and selling services to third parties.