• Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

Time waits for no one, including the telcos.

We have seen time and again that companies that fail to change with the times risk being hurled into a void of mediocrity.  Considering the advancements in technology today, telcos face more disruption than they’ve bargained for. Indeed, the rise of the OTT model may be seen as a prime example of how new players have managed to gobble up a huge chunk of the telecom market pie. However, behind every challenge lies an opportunity for those who welcome the unexpected. By embracing innovation and clear-headed decision-making, some telcos have managed to hold their ground in a dynamic ICT sector, being relevant not just as data conduits, but as enablers of digital transformation. Still, with the changing behavior of customers and the steady introduction of new technologies such as cloud computing, big data, AI and other applications, even the most innovative carriers face untold challenges. And this comes just as the pace of 5G deployments is gaining strong momentum, with 5G networks set to carry over 30 billion connected devices by 2025, according to one market survey report.

The world has already embarked on this digital journey, giving greater significance to digital infrastructure, digital skills, digital businesses and digital public services. Connectivity ranks among the key areas of engagement; all technologies (fixed, wireless and a combination of both) can play a role in reaching our digital goals, all while bridging the digital divide. Let us consider some areas where modern telcos can’t afford to lose focus:    

  • Network expansion is crucial for any operator’s growth strategy. However, managing expansive networks is not an easy feat. Hence, autonomous networks must be a key component of the telco’s operations. AI- and ML-based automation can empower software-defined networks with autonomous decision-making capabilities, thus minimizing the need for human intervention. The self-provisioning, self-diagnosing and self-healing capabilities of such networks will enable operators to improve the end-user experience while cutting operating costs. Autonomous networks enable telcos to provide network as a service, ensuring greater flexibility, reconfiguration, security and enhanced functionalities for network consistency and reliability across industry verticals.

  • A tight asset management strategy is imperative for telco growth. Transferring capabilities and infrastructure to specialist players has been an effective and profitable way of moving from fixed to variable costs while boosting agility and focusing on core capabilities. However, a holistic approach encompassing re-evaluation of core and non-core operations around different assets is key for aligning the strategic enablers and outcomes. Telecom operators must rethink their strategies related to acquisitions, disposals, joint ventures and collaborative partnerships to gain scale and momentum. Failure to do so will weigh heavily on their progress. Moves such as tower sale-and-leasebacks, network-sharing agreements, partnering with hyperscalers, etc. can help telcos sustain their steep CAPEX commitments for rolling network infrastructure. Mergers and acquisitions can maximize shareholder value and strengthen a global presence.

  • The need for talent incubation programs in telecom companies cannot be overlooked at any cost. Cloud, automation, emerging technologies and new business models are transforming the talent pool ecosystem in the ICT sector. Traditional talent acquisition processes may not suffice when it comes to hiring the right personnel who are proficient in the new technologies driving digital transformation that telcos look to provide. The strategy of up-skilling employees must be utilized to maintain the company’s long-term workforce objectives, not just on the technology front but within the overall operations, including administration and design as well as customer-facing roles. Telcos also must address the issue of “brain drain” to circumvent any potential output delays or stoppages in their entirety.

  • Diversification and Customer Experience are perhaps the most impactful aspects that telcos can build upon for their growth beyond connectivity. Today’s dynamic digital market landscape gives operators the chance to deploy several important assets in the building of new, non-core businesses. From voice and video calling, streaming and payment services to mega projects and smart city innovation, telcos stand at the juncture of digitalization with their ecosystem of broad networks.  Telcos command the advantage of huge and historic data sets of their customers, providing rich information for building accurate consumer profiles, behavioral predictions, and any number of related microsegments, thus boosting targeted marketing efforts and decreasing customer acquisition costs. Telcos can enhance the customer experience by harnessing the power of analytics and AI to offer personalized experiences across all digital and physical channels. Also read: Plotting 5G Monetization Opportunities

According to a McKinsey study earlier this year, from 2010 to 2020, operators created less value despite making huge capital investments to enable 3G and 4G technology. However, in the last two years, since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, telcos once again assumed the driver’s seat, as digital services worldwide played a crucial and historic role. The telecom sector kept most business enterprises in operation and rescued the world from an indefinite recession. One of the biggest challenges for telcos remains, however, the connecting of rural and remote areas with the rest of the world, ensuring access to affordable connectivity services for all. Per recent market research, the telecommunication market size was valued at $1,638.78 million in 2021 and is predicted to reach $2,346.69 billion by 2028, at a CAGR of 4.95% between 2022–2028. The global telecommunication market is expected to continue such strong growth in the coming years, providing ample opportunities for companies that can capitalize on the trends driving this expansion. By analyzing the above considerations, telcos can channel their potential for greater standing in the modern ICT ecosystem.

Also read: How telcos will succeed with 5G campus networks

Pin It