LIVE FROM HUAWEI GLOBAL MOBILE BROADBAND FORUM 2015, HONG KONG: Telefonica is aiming to accelerate the way it adapts to the rapidly evolving needs of customers and understands it needs to radically change how it plans and operates.

The customer is evolving quickly and is asking for more and more, noted Telefonica group CTO Enrique Blanco, who spoke in this morning’s keynote session. “This is changing how we think. We have to look at the value of each customer, which is different than looking at the user base in aggregate. That is not enough anymore. Now it’s one by one.”

This is a major change in how it operates its network. “We need to radically change how we think, how we plan and how we satisfy customers’ expectations, but we are starting,” he said. “Acceleration is fundamental for our success. We know what we want to do but need to accelerate change and put our investments where it makes a difference with the customer experience.”

He said it must transform beyond technology and prepare for the changes that will inevitably come, noting that the technical guys know what has to be done. It already is centralising operations for more cost efficient network deployments, looking at different purchase models and planning massive small-cell deployments.

As an example of the extent of how much has changed, he pointed to the tremendous jump in traffic over Wi-Fi, which now accounts for more than 90 per cent of its traffic in Spain. “No more than 7 per cent of the traffic we manage on our network is mobile data.”

The operator has more small-cell deployments indoor than outdoor, but he said that will change once it has additional spectrum in the high bands in 2016 and it will roll out blanket outdoor coverage similar to its fixed deployment.

Blanco said Telefoncia is ready to manage the exponential growth in traffic, because it has invested heavily in 4G and fibre (GPON). But he admitted it can’t accelerate growth maintaining its current legacy systems. “This is not because of capex pressure, it’s about the opex that needs to be reduced. We need to work harder to shift away from our legacy history.”

He also sees huge room to use data analytics to improve and serve customers better.