For the most part, mobile operators have built out the infrastructure that compliments most of the interactions that we all now use daily. On top of this, with data the operators have the platform to build on further.

Vast resources have been invested into this area from licensing for the latest 5G to substantial handset development, all with the purpose to connect and make communication faster across the world.

It is now that mobile operators find themselves requiring innovation and other product lines to improve their growth and margins. All while companies like YouTube are monetising internet bandwidth globally.

The Glitch - Changing consumer demand

Habits around content consumption can change quickly and fast moving tech companies have been able to monetise this area. Digital content consumption continues to evolve and change. This means that in order to reach their ideal audience and personas, they are going to have to adapt to the latest trends otherwise be left behind by other players entering the market.

The last several years has seen a noticeable uplift in OTT services (Netflix, Zoom, Skype, etc.) that have found effective ways to operate on top of the mobile operator infrastructure, streaming content, providing VoIP services and such like to their customers.

Although, clearly on some level, mobile operators have missed the opportunity with streaming, voice, and more recently messaging, there is now an emerging segment that operators should review.

The rising popularity of gaming and further esports, could be the industry that provides the much-needed growth area and allow operators to monetise across its own infrastructure, namely using DCB or data.

Esports growth

Esports has hit this stratosphere in large part because of the social component of live streaming and gaming. Further, gaming is the fastest growing form of entertainment in the world. Revenues have been increasing globally at 9.7% per year.

Already worth over $1 billion, the market is projected by experts to triple by 2025. Esports is regularly packing stadiums with avid fans, spawning new professional teams, and selling massive sponsorship deals.

This boom in esports and in online multiplayer gaming in general  has created a commercial audience of digital natives that is both young and affluent. It’s a growing segment that sees gaming as a lifestyle, and they see professional esports gamers and personalities as their heroes.

Some staggering statistics (Newzoo):

  • Global esports revenues will grow to $1.1 billion in 2020, a year-on-year growth of +15.7%, up from $950.6 million in 2019.
  • In 2020, $822.4 million in revenues—or three-quarters of the total market—will come from media rights and sponsorship.
  • Globally, the total esports audience will grow to 495.0 million people in 2020, a year-on-year growth of +11.7%.
  • Desktop gaming, driven by its 1.3 billion players, will grow +4.8% year on year to $36.9 billion in 2020.

Esports growth (Newzoo)

Mobile first

Any esports enthusiast, viewer or gamer will tell you that there is a quick to ruin the gaming experience: high lag (not enough bandwidth). This is an area mobile operators are uniquely positioned to help with, especially with the advent of edge computing technology and 5G. 5G is about delivering business outcomes for service providers.

The requirements are the same, that players need the same high bandwidth, low latency, and experience.

By leveraging technology that enables edge computing at scale, forward-looking operators can take gamers to where they want to go – and with plenty of value-adds.

Add to this mobile operators are mobile centric, handset use for esports is also a fast growth vertical in itself, with mobile esports enjoyed a huge spike in the past year, with markets like MENA, Asia, India, and Brazil at the forefront of this growth.

Global Mobile Smartphone Users (Newzoo)

The Glitch and connecting more with consumers

To compete against the powerhouse content services like Netflix, Roku, etc, mobile operators must make significant and key investments in delivering such technologies that bring the edge computing to their customer base at high scalability.

So with this Glitch, by enabling and promoting esports tournaments and delivering cutting edge esports content to their subscribers, mobile operators can take advantage of esports and niche gaming and further building online communities.

If done right, this can help telco's engage with the new millennia customers, create retention, better user experiences, reward lifelong customers, upsell and maximize average revenue per user (ARPU).

There are now further reasons to be loyal to a mobile telco, for many of the 2.7 billion gamers worldwide.

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