In 2009, Ovum published the Telecoms in 2020 series of reports, which outlined our 10-year vision for the telecommunications industry.
Three years later, much of this vision is beginning to take shape. In our recent report, Telecoms in 2020: Telcos’ Progress on the Road to SMART and LEAN, we revisited our predictions to examine how telcos are responding to the challenges that we envisaged back in 2009. One of our main findings was that telcos are being forced to redefine themselves into one of three roles.
Global telcos are increasingly faced with questions related to their positioning and relevance as new players enter the traditional telecoms ecosystem and influence technology, services, channels, and customer behavior and expectations.
Telcos are no longer at the center of the telecommunications universe, where their only threat was from other telcos. In the current environment, telcos no longer receive the majority of revenues from transactions generated and conducted over their networks.
Every telco will have to grapple with these fundamental questions, and will have to define itself according to the new reality of communications, IT, and media convergence.
Becoming LEAN requires a leap of faith
In 2009, Ovum predicted that most telcos would become LEAN (low-cost enablers of agnostic networks) operators by 2020. LEAN telcos will run low-cost, open, technology-agnostic networks that provide network capabilities to a wholesale-oriented customer base.
This business transformation won’t be easy, but it is already underway. To capture new revenues, telcos are investing heavily in innovation and are acquiring companies with assets in vertical industries in which they have complementary expertise and/or strategic ambitions. They are also developing new value-added services, and are working with over-the-top (OTT) partners or launching their own OTT services.