The Japanese telecom industry's obsession with high-quality, managed data as a core driver of customer experience and shareholder value. Roger Silvermane shares his experience having worked with major operators in Japan and across Asia.
His stories and insights are as funny as they are surprising.

Tiny Apartments Drive Innovation In Massively Scaling Wireless Telecom

The average size for an apartment in Tokyo is 9 square meters. With spaces so small most people did not have a PC at home. Their entertainment and shopping came on their phone. Deploying wireless networks to millions of residents tightly packed in urban environments meant that telecoms had to invest heavily in data acquisition, management, and uptime in order to offer quality service.
Much of the quality of service we enjoy to day with 4g/5G is thanks for Japan's early adoption of wireless networks, their obsession with data quality, and building resilient services to boot.

Well managed networks create opportunity for IoT (before IoT was a thing)

Companies who have control over their data and information will begin to find new opportunities. For example, once NTT was able to connect people reliably it was a matter of time before they started connecting devices and enabling digital payments.
This gives rise to the growth of all those vending machines across the country.

Fun Fact. Telecoms in Japan made more from wireless Payments than they do on Customer Subscriptions


Once NTT had control and visibility into their business, they began to enable digital payments. All of the sudden customers were able to pay for things using SMS and mobile phones wherever the opportunity arose. Thousands of vending machines in public spaces became sources of revenue.
Ubiquitous devices + 24/7/365 reliability + happy customers = New Opportunities at every turn.
NTT's data was well structured, well understood, and well managed.  

Lessons in Well Managed Data

These lessons are not unique to telecom. Any enterprise willing to put in the time and effort to understand their data and information flow can keep their customers happy,  reduce churn, and unlock more value through new services.