LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE 360 EURASIA, MOSCOW: Industry leaders highlighted the growing importance of coupling AI with big data to aid customer management, encouraging governments to detail guidelines on the ethical use of the new technologies.

MTS president and CEO Vyacheslav Nikolaev (pictured, centre) argued operators are generally highly optimistic about working with partners to launch new services, since the opportunity to grab the customer’s attention about something new is very small.

“We have a very rare opportunity to find the right moment when the client is ready for a new service. Without big data and AI, it doesn’t work at all.”

GSMA director general Mats Granryd (pictured, right of centre) believes AI will be a cornerstone of intelligent connectivity, as the industry moves toward bringing AI, IoT and big data into the mix.

Granryd believes AI is a critical component to sorting through massive amount of datas, but he noted it is a double-edged sword, with appropriate regulation needed.

The GSMA released guidelines on AI ethics and usage instructions during the Covid-19 (coronvirus) pandemic, “but still much more needs to be done in that department”, he said.

Nikolaev also noted AI legislation is not ready in Russia, adding consumers in the country have a high level of trust in how operators use their data.

Granryd noted there are many good and bad examples of operators moving to become ecosystems players in other domains, noting the experiences of Verizon and AT&T in the US.

“Being a streaming provider is a global challenge and requires massive muscle to be able to deliver”.

Granryd added the operators’ moves to diversify their portfolios was driven by a desire to boost revenue and stickiness. “Traditionally, operators have a high degree of trust with consumers. If they are then able to launch services such as banking, media or social media in a good way, then that stickiness becomes even better.”

Nikolaev agreed, explaining when a subscriber adds a second service it lowers churn while raising ARPU.

In Q2, MTS’ non-telecoms businesses generated more than 25 per cent of total revenue, with retail sales up 20 per cent, media 30 per cent and fintech business 40 per cent year-on-year. Overall revenue rose 10 per cent.