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The CEO of Australia’s leading telecommunications firm Telstra has warned operators that consumer data prices will soon be a thing of the past. Andrew Penn issued the stark statement when delivering his keynote address at Mobile World Congress Shanghai. (MWCS 2017)

According to Penn operators need to prepare for already declining consumer data prices to reach zero within the next 5-10 years. Telstra’s CEO insisted that it was critical that operators diversified away from being just ‘connectivity providers’ - and that they must focus on providing other services for consumers on top of connectivity.

Penn said: “There is a real possibility that the price for data to the consumer will go to zero in the next 5-10 years. Operators must ensure that they can offer customers wider, consumer-friendly services in order to ensure relevance, sustainability and new revenue streams which will help them avoid falling further down the value chain.”

In addition to this, Penn warned of the dangers of spending too much time focusing on ‘cool technology’ being displayed at MWC Shanghai – and not enough on how innovations would be delivered for the good of the customer. Penn added: “We need to ensure that new products that are designed are intuitive and customer friendly.” Telstra’s CEO highlighted Netflix as a successful example of this.

Telstra have introduced a series of new initiatives specifically designed to improve the user interface of new services after conducting an investigation of its customer service calls. Penn revealed that a staggering 90% of queries which were made to Telstra’s customer help center could’ve been avoided if improvements in technology or customer care had been implemented with new technologies.

Telstra have come under scathing criticism in recent weeks in Australia, following the organization’s decision to axe over 1,500 members of its workforce, citing increased competition as the main factor in its decision to reduce staff.