According to industry analysts, the telecoms industry will lose a combined $386 billion between 2012 and 2018, as many customers shift to over-the-top (OTT) voice applications, delivered by the OTT technology companies. Many of these newcomers believe that the telecoms sector is ripe for disruption.
As Fortune magazine noted earlier this year: “the Internet, and particularly the evolution of services that go over the top of Carrier networks, using data connections, have threatened the Carrier’s business models. It’s hard to charge people 20 cents per text, for example, when Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp are ‘free’ with a data plan.”
But, what does telecom disruption mean for Telecom Service Providers, and more importantly, how can the industry effectively deal with this latest challenge?
Very few industries today are insulated from disruption. The telecoms industry is no exception, as it’s driven by innovation, within a competitive landscape, where speed to market and business agility are the norm. This has created a make-or-break moment for Carriers, as developing new strategies are essential in both protecting existing customers, and in driving new revenue streams. Further, for the telecoms industry, this should be a natural development of the services that are offered, which will bolster the service providers’ role as the strategic pillar in the delivery of Unified Communication and Collaboration (UC&C) strategies and practices of their customers.
In addition, the Unified Communication and Collaboration (UC&C) industry is set for explosive growth. UC&C is becoming more pervasive, with smart devices supporting unified communications applications, a greater density of commodity video and a reliance on cloud services.
Alongside these trends, the IT industry titans, along with innovative start-ups, are providing services to unite their clients’ voice, collaboration, conferencing, chatting, file sharing and calendar requirements. Telecoms Carriers, therefore, need to reposition their collaboration offerings effectively to stay relevant, but do so, quickly. On the plus side, Carriers are in a perfect position to improve the customer experience, create new revenue opportunities and deliver market innovation cost-effectively, with the goal of differentiating their offerings in an increasingly commoditised space.
Here are our recommendations for Carriers to consider, as they strengthen their roles as the center-piece in the development of their customers’ UC&C practices:
Leverage Your Brand: It is vital to co-brand or white-label your offering, including the user interface, so that notifications and audio prompts maintain your awareness and relevance with your customers.
(Bring Your Own Network) BYON: Network integration allows the Carrier to ‘Bring-Your-Own-Network’ for origination and termination of all calls, which will maximize your existing infrastructure utilization model.
Meet Them Where They Live: Using built-in multi-language number sets will complement the Carrier’s network and support other regional requirements.
Go-To-Market Enablement: Develop marketing templates, product positioning and adoption programmes that will provide a quick entrance into the market.
Collaboration Expertise On Tap: Have access to a team of collaboration experts, and around the clock customer service agents, will effectively add to the efforts of your sales and service delivery team.
Audio Clarity: Positioning your offer as having crystal clear sound and superior audio, over a dedicated global private MPLS backbone, with multiple access points, dial–in and dial-out options, HD Video and Dolby Voice will ensure real audio quality. You have a real differentiator here over the OTT players, so ensure you play it up.
Demonstrate Scalability: Explaining and demonstrating that your services are able to scale easily, with the same quality, whether that is, for example, catering for a meeting for 10 people in the UK, or a meeting of 10,000 people in every region across the world. Businesses need to know that your offer will scale, but that this will be painless and that quality will not be impacted.
The most progressive and commercially successful Service Providers should now be working to effectively compete against the OTT newcomers. They should be providing their customers greater relevance and enhanced customer experiences, while leveraging network assets, creating new revenue streams, improving the “stickiness” of their traditional services and reaching previously untapped markets.
In conclusion, addressing how Carriers position themselves for future success, against the OTT newcomers, will help customers cut costs and grow their productivity. It will help them expand their role as a valuable partner to their enterprise and SME customers, and set them up for greater success tomorrow and beyond.