Telcos are not alone in their transformational journey -other industries have been hit by similar transformations.
Dustin Kehoe, program director & telecom lead for IDC Asia Pacific, described in his keynote how other industries such as banking, insurance and retail have experienced their own OTT disruptions. In the financial sector, for example, "a lot of banks look at Bitcoin the same way that telcos look at Skype."
However, while other industries have undergone transformations, he says telcos have been hit the hardest because every time they introduce a product they have to talk to the regulator and on pricing, AND there is always an operator willing to sell a service cheaper. This is particularly true in emerging markets.
"Telcos in APAC will lose about $2 billion in SMS revenue a year. And the growth in Skype minutes is actually greater than all the other carriers' minutes in the world combined by a factor of 50%, which will have massive implications."
Kehoe noted that just because other industries can identify with your transformation pains, that won't make partnerships between disparate industries any easier.
He said the industry has seen 180 consolidations in four years as well as increased convergence across industries. "Every six days, a telco is acquired by another telco."
Chris Williams, head of global marketing at Amdocs, urged operators in his presentation to take the initiative in the digital revolution, arguing that there was no reason for telcos not to lead the charge.
"It's not about how you survive in the digital age, it's about how you thrive," he said. "Don't be a victim - be a proactive disruptor. There's no reason you can't lead in this space."