As for internal issues, by far the biggest one remains finding new revenue streams to compensate for falling voice and SMS revenues (see Figure 4). More respondents selected this category - and put it at the top of their list - than any other.
There’s also growing recognition that telcos are going to have to take the term “transformation” seriously, both in terms of infrastructure and organization. Almost half of respondents said they need to “restructure their back-office infrastructure to add flexibility to deliver a better customer experience,” with half of that group ranking it second in their Top 3. Almost a third put it at the top of the list.
A similar number put “corporate restructuring for the Digital Economy” on their Top 3 list, though usually in third place. So while organizational transformation may not be a top priority for operators in 2016, there’s awareness that it has to happen sooner or later. And as we’ll see in a moment, corporate restructuring will be a strategic focus for many telcos next year.
Increasing network capex to keep up with demand was also a frequent response, usually in the top two slots. Of lesser concern was streamlining IT costs, attracting and retaining qualified employees, and increasing investments in big data, which doesn’t reflect a lack of interest so much as a sense that they have these aspects under control to their satisfaction.
Looking at where telcos will be strategically focused in the next 12 months, the strongest focus will be on expanding to new market segments and/or geographical markets. The vast majority of respondents put this in their Top 3, and most of them ranked it No. 1 (see Figure 5, below).
The next closest response: reducing costs, which was a strong number 2 for many respondents, followed by flexible service creation and strengthened brand campaigns. As mentioned above, corporate restructuring will also be a key strategic focus, at least for a third of respondents, although most of them ranked it second or third. Clearly, the priority in 2016 is finding new markets to crack.
This article was first published on Telecom Asia Vision 2016 Supplement