Week in research: SDM trends toward consolidation, middle mile broadband projects get more funding

SDM transforms: IT vendors with "master data management capabilities" have a potentially huge opportunity as subscriber data management (SDM) services move away from applications and toward backend databases that consolidate data from several sources, an Infonetics Report says. Worldwide, the SDM market will reach $1.5 billion by 2014. News release.

Infonetics subscriber data management

Customer service no longer a dirty word: Data analytics are critically important to increasing profitability by helping maximize the customer experience and customer retention, says a new report by the TM Forum, Insights Research "Exploiting Analytics." Citing a recent report by Bain & Co., results show that a 5 percent improvement in customer retention rates can increase the bottom line by up to 75 percent. "Customer service is no longer an act of altruism, but instead a strategic initiative that impacts your bottom line," said Rob Rich, managing director of TM Forum Insights. News release.

Middle mile gets a bigger piece of pie: The NTIA (National Telecommunications and Information Administration) is awarding broadband stimulus funds to more middle-mile projects than last-mile projects, a Research and Markets report says, with optical transport vendors receiving a good deal of money to build out their networks. Last-mile access projects still have a friend in the RUS (Rural Utilities Service), but the RUS' money pot is much smaller than NTIA's, limiting the number and scale of awards. News release.

M&A on the upswing: Private equity will play a prominent role in M&A (merger and acquisition) activity in Europe, says Research and Markets. Times are just bad for telcos across the continent, they're "austere," a report says, with major operators like Vodafone looking to sell strategic stakes. M&A has already increased; in the first seven months of 2010, private equity and venture capital firms completed 12 transactions in the technology, media and communications marketplace. News release.

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