Telcos that want a simple way to win customers and generate revenue from cloud services could do worse than opting to resell an off-the-shelf product from a respected software provider; however, Japan's NEC said this method comes with a health warning.

"Operators sometimes ask us for killer apps from some big brands," said Manuel Gallo, senior manager of business development for EMEA, at NEC's cloud competence centre. "When they say that we advise them to get some big names, but we also say don't rely on them too much."

His explanation was fairly straightforward.

"You won't build customer loyalty or retention from killer apps like [Microsoft] Office 365 because they're available everywhere and you will always find yourself challenged on price."

Instead, Gallo's advice to telcos that want to be successful in the cloud is to create sticky services that become an integral part of their customer's own business.

"I sort of call it forced loyalty," he joked. "By being deeply integrated in, for example, a restaurant's order and billing management systems, it will make them feel less inclined to migrate."

In its capacity as a carrier cloud services provider, NEC's brand is the one thing largely absent from its offering: the solutions it provides to operators are done so on a white label basis.

"The NEC brand is well-established in the carrier cloud [services] market, but we don't want to undermine the brands of our operator customers," said Gallo.

"There are sometimes internal concerns that our brand is not listed in cloud service rankings, but I always think, would I rather have the money or the brand? I'll have the money please."