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Disruption is the new normal for telecommunications

Disruption is the new normal for telecommunications

Telcos are concerned about their position in the new marketplace, and unsure how to adopt disruptive technologies to improve their competitiveness.


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Connectivity, competition, and convergence are redefining every aspect of the telecom landscape from the way networks are designed, built and maintained, to the content flowing through, and the channels that enable users to access services.

Before long, everyone and everything will be connected, creating an explosion in network traffic, a rapid increase in the number of connected devices and telecom companies racing to upgrade their networks to 5G in an effort to provide the necessary speed and bandwidth.

Telecom companies may be accustomed to change – but the accelerated speed of disruption is something they haven’t experienced before, and many are struggling to figure out how to navigate the numerous disruptive technologies and the impact they will have on their organisation.

While 58 percent of telecom leaders are optimistic about the opportunities disruptive technologies provide, they also have many concerns about the impact of these technologies on their business.

Competitive pressures drive disruption chart

Almost four out of five respondents (79 percent) fear that that demand for OTT is outpacing the ability of telecom companies to adapt.

Netflix, Microsoft (Skype), Facebook (Messenger, WhatsApp), Amazon, Tencent (WeChat), Naver (Line), PayPal, Google and many other firms are all expanding their services in this space, in the process consuming a significant proportion of available network bandwidth. The insatiable demand for content by consumers is forcing operators to invest heavily in increasing network capacity and creating a vicious cycle, with much of this capacity being further exploited by OTT players – rather than the telcos themselves.

Telecom companies may be accustomed to change – but the accelerated speed of disruption is something they haven’t experienced before. Only about half of respondents say their organization has a clear strategy and mission for disruptive technology and a mere 23 percent feel their company is “very prepared” in terms of a strategic vision for disruptive technologies.

Given the rich potential of the content market, it’s little surprise that so many telcos are making moves into TV and video, offering bundled TV, wireless phone service and wired broadband. Others, like Japan’s NTT and subsidiary NTT Data have established themselves as a top 5 global IT services company.

As telcos evolve into new types of organisations, they are using disruptive technologies to change the way they run their businesses and interact with customers.

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