Telstra CEO David Thodey admitted that the telecoms industry absolutely needs to change and the future challenges are large. "But we often forget the contributions the industry has made."
He pointed out that in the two key markets it is involved in - both hyper-competitive markets - it managed to grow revenue 4-5% in Australia and 10% in Hong Kong. "That doesn't seem like a bad business to me. And more importantly, the return on capital we're deploying is pretty strong."
Hakam Kanafani, group CEO for Turk Telekom, said the mobile phone is the most popular product in the history of mankind. "It has the highest penetration compared to TV or even the internet or radio. It is a great piece of equipment, which we've done a lot to devalue."
In an afternoon session at the Mobile World Congress yesterday on business transformation for operators, moderated by TM Forum market strategist Tony Poulos, Kanafani said the industry needs to resurrect itself.
"We are not the old timers. We are not going to die. We can meet the challenges, but we have to change ourselves. We have changed the marketing and communications industry and we have changed the distribution industry. We have invested more capex to improve the infrastructure of our countries than any other industry."
But he says today the system is not working. "There is a move in telecommunications from communicating to actually doing something with that piece of equipment. This transition is being driven by the decline in the growth of subscriber," Kanafani said.