Prior to MVNOs World Congress 2018, where he’ll join the panel discussion ‘Addressing the needs of consumers in the era of digitalisation’, Achilleas Philippopoulos, Head of MVNO at Cyta, shares his thoughts on the biggest innovators in the digital world, the biggest challenges Cyta faced last year and the initiatives Cyta has taken to stay ahead of the curve.
Please tell us a bit more about what you do at Cyta Hellas.
I am currently leading the development of the company’s Digital Acquisition, On-Line Channel Strategy for the mobile business, while managing the MVNO development of Cyta Hellas in Greece since 2014. Key business characteristic is the delivery of converged fixed & mobile services with a hybrid post & prepaid model. I am responsible for the MNO (Vodafone) Account Management, the wholesale negotiations, the roaming and other managed services. With my team we provide support to our Commercial Operations & Retail Marketing activities, along with project management of new value-added products & services. Cyta Hellas is an alternative quad play operator in Greece. Prior to Cyta, I assumed international executive roles within Vodafone group, managing mobile start-up & business development activities, over a 15-year span. I am an alumnus of Wichita State University in the United States.
Who are the biggest innovators in the digital world? Why do you consider them the biggest innovators?
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is to my opinion the top digital innovation which will let machines do more with self-learning technology in terms of personalizing recommendations and the content each one of us wants to access. Take for example “Alexa”, Amazon’s smart speaker or earlier SIRI which both employ AI technology to answer questions or even play songs on demand. Nowadays we even see self-driving car’s artificial intelligence (AI) progressing rapidly. Just a few years ago we would perceive both as science fiction applications. In the future we will see robots making autonomous decisions using AI technology with human-like behaviour (i.e. “Sophia). AI will come to a point that will truly serve human needs, even teaching us new skills, but hopefully not overtaking us.
How can operators regain their position in the market as key innovators?
Through operational excellence and value added bundled services such as FTTH, LTE high speed mobile internet and VOD/content aggregation. Future services will definitely require more and more bandwidth which should be readily available at any moment. Users must be able to have the same level of service both indoors and outdoors, underground in public places or while traveling at 30.000 ft.
What initiates have you taken to stay ahead of the curve?
Striving to become a “one stop shop” where our customer will be serviced with as many bundled services, also introducing the resale of power services as a bundled service for our fixed line customers with added benefits.
What was the biggest challenge you faced last year and how did you overcome it?
Biggest challenge was the fierce competition from win-backs along with an overall operational cost reduction, which we managed to overcome with the introduction of disrupting product offerings, engaging simultaneously in digital acquisition / on-line strategy to assist the company’s sales and improve our efficiency.
Can you please name a few technologies that will impact your business? Can you also tell us how they will impact your business and the relationship with your customers?
We view digital transformation technologies as the main drivers of our business, especially when it comes to digital acquisition, which we have started using to lower our Subscriber Acquisition Cost (SAC), moving from the traditional acquisition partner channels to our own digital channel. We view the future as being mostly digital. Becoming future-ready requires changing the customer experience and our operational efficiency to stay ahead of the pack in order to perform better than our industry peers. Engaging with innovation is to my opinion the best way forward, meeting customer needs while reducing our costs at the same time. To compete in the digital economy we also need to improve our efficiency on the operations side and work with a wide variety of digital partners and field experts. Transformation is a difficult task since we all resist to change, but if we decide to stick with it we can make it happen.
When asked about who he looks forward to meeting at MVNOs World Congress 2018, Achilleas mentions the “value added service / innovation companies that will enhance our competitive edge in the market”.