Nuts and Bolts: How telcos monetise data assets

MTN staff during their daily activities at the headquarters in Kigali. / Olivier Mugwiza.

The telecommunication sector is rapidly growing, locally and globally through its innovations on multiple aspects including phones, the internet, through airwaves or cables among others.

It is incredible how much data telecommunication companies hold as the world gravitates towards a more virtually connected one. Our day-to-day lives currently revolve around mobile devices, social media, banking, insurance transactions and, most importantly, mobile money services, all of which are services that generate lots of data.


From this kind of information, telcos can retrieve valuable facts on customer profiles, usage patterns, location data, app downloads, click stream, as well as their network capacity planning and optimization.


They can sell the data on to players in sectors such as health, advertising, retail and banking, among others. Data is increasingly being considered as a potentially very lucrative revenue stream.


These facts, when utilized effectively, can enable telcos to increase efficiency, meet their set goals and, above all, make money; while at the same time encouraging growth.

Below are some of the ways that telecom companies use to monetise data.

Digital advertising

Advertisers might be seeking to improve their effectiveness by reaching target audiences with highly relevant media in the appropriate context, thereby telcos provide them with content that benefits them.

Internet of Things (IoT)

The number of connected objects representing the IoT ecosystem, the interconnection via computing devices in everyday objects, enabling them to exchange data, is expected to reach tens of billions of devices in the near future. A number of service providers already offer active programmes addressing smart gadgets and lifestyle such cars and homes, and add value to them all with various types of information which telecom companies can provide.

Financial services

For instance, financial services companies can analyse various data in the context of the customer’s development to offer relevant services, such as car insurance, loans or credit for customers planning significant purchases or financial services for frequent travelers. Institutions might work with telecom companies and acquire such information.

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