The convergence of telecoms, IT and media channels has blurred the boundaries between these once separate industries, leading to new providers, partnerships and business models.
Owning and operating the networks is one thing, but unless telcos have the content that customers want, network operators will become little more than transport providers. This means that collaboration and partnering are now critical to boosting service innovation and speeding time to market.
To succeed in value-added services and beyond, operators increasingly will need strong partnerships with content owners and producers to move up the value chain and consistently delivery high-quality multimedia services in the right format.
This issue's virtual roundtable, led by group editor Joseph Waring, features AT&T Asia Pacific VP Norihiko Minato, BT Asia Pacific GM for portfolio & partnerships Nathan Bell, Oracle Communications SVP and GM Bhaskar Gorti and Nokia Siemens Networks' head of Asia South Joe Doering. The executives responded by email to a set of questions about the telco of 2013 and the responses were compiled in this Q&A.
Waring: What will be the major shifts in the telecoms landscape over the next five years‾
Minato: Over the next five years we believe the ability to access any information on any device from any location at any time will become a reality. We are already working on what we call our 'three-screen' strategy and have made good progress in several test markets in the US. We feel that advances in IP technology as well as greater convergence between devices and applications will mean that people will be able to use their TV, computer and mobile device to access everything they need - from work email and applications to social networking, as well as news and entertainment.
Second, demand for video-based services will increase exponentially. With improvements in video quality and the ability to use and access video on any device, we believe video communications will eventually become as pervasive as voice communication is today.
Thirdly, with continuing momentum toward globalization, there will be greater demand for effective collaboration tools that will allow geographically dispersed staff and suppliers to collaborate in real time to achieve improved time-to-market as competition intensifies.
Gorti: I agree with Norihiko. We expect operators to continue the move toward all IP networks, with a proliferation of IT-based services that can be accessed on multiple screens: the mobile phone, television and PC. This will require operators to focus on improving customer intimacy, accelerating service innovation - including those of 3rd party application and content providers for a richer service experience - and continued emphasis on operational excellence to drive down opex.
Doering: The communications industry is going through a transformation. Various trends are driving the market, and the major ones are the convergence of telecom, media and IT industries; the rise of diverse business models; the combination and bundling of fixed, mobile, cable, TV and content services; the increasing importance of communities; rising end-user expectations; as well as growth challenges in mature markets.
These trends are pushing service providers to re-think the way they run their businesses, and as a result, we will see operators redesigning their business models to fit the new demands in their markets to succeed.