Telecom markets (EMEA & US) and Telecom Expense Management

cropped-Untitled2.pngUS TEM market is much more mature than the European market and that whilst TEM is a ‘must have’ for large corporate global businesses to keep control of the costs and their communications estate, it’s evolved this way because some of the world’s largest companies are based the US.




North America is presently the leading regional market for telecom expense management and is expected to record the highest revenue generation for the global market over the period between 2016 and 2024. In this relatively mature market, factors such as the extensive usage of mobile devices within enterprises, technologically advanced and thus extremely complex telecom infrastructures, and presence of a large number of TEM providers will favor the future growth of North America TEM market.


The complexity of the European telecoms market makes it very different to the US.


In Europe we have so many countries and 20 plus languages and over 200 carriers.

Cultural differences

it’s important to support & understand cultural differences when dealing with people from different regions – US based corporate TEM suppliers may not have a strong grasp of European geography, time zones, and cultural and political differences.

Data protection

in some countries, data cannot leave that country or region under local data privacy laws. Therefore, sending personal data offshore for analysis can be a political and legal issue – workarounds are often put into place but are not always ideal in practice.


in general, European branches of multinational companies have each their own responsibilities and hierarchy. For example, I have a client with headquarters in Denmark, that has over 50 branches in other countries around Europe and they’ve just acquired a large company in the US. My client needs an experienced international partner to manage their global communications spend and estate, with all of the complexity that they have in their organisation.


outsourcing TEM in US based companies is pretty common. In Europe, TEM is barely established. Leading carrier vendors in Europe do also present themselves as ‘TEM providers’ (for example VGE or Vodafone Global Enterprise to give them their full name). Therefore the willingness of these vendors to cooperate with specialist TEM companies is limited. This does not benefit clients that are trying to control communications costs. In addition, the common processes that TEM providers use (LOAs /EDI) in the US are not well known processes in Europe.

Vendor issues

telecom vendors give the impression that they’re global but in Europe, each vendor has their local processes and each European country also has their own rules and laws – in all cases, the vendors partner with other carriers in an attempt to offer global coverage. To further explain the complexity that this brings and why there are always so many invoice errors to deal with (that run into billions being incorrectly charged to clients), I will share some more reasons and examples below. US TEM suppliers don’t recognise that there are several large (globally operating) telecom vendors in Europe – for example Vodafone, Telefonica, Orange etc. However in practice, they are in fact just local vendors, operating under a commercial brand. For example, Vodafone in The Netherlands is a separate company from Vodafone Spain. In this particular scenario, the billing system of Vodafone Netherlands is different to the one that Vodafone Spain or Germany is using. So the result is that data received by a TEM provider from European country A differs from European country B – even though the data has been provided under the Vodafone brand.

Roaming charges

while roaming charges will no longer apply in 2017, roaming will still exist for non-members of the EU, like Switzerland, Norway and many others in EMEA. The fact that roaming costs will be removed shortly won’t change anything though. Even if the roaming costs are charged the same as national traffic, you still need to take ‘roundings’ into account. The complexity of this market won’t change that fast in my opinion. The regulations will only be applicable for EU roaming tariffs for example. The complexity for calls and data usage from EU to the rest of World and vice versa won’t change and is still a huge cost driver. One of the main reasons for multinationals to choose TEM support is the complexity of the invoicing process with regard to mobile services in the EMEA region. Each country has multiple vendors with multiple tariff plans. And each vendor applies their own ‘roundings’, which apply to roaming voice and data services. TEM suppliers need to be very experienced in this particular field and in this particular market in order to provide decent invoice checks; a field in which A&B Groep has proven experience.


so many clients get flustered and frustrated each month when invoicing becomes a battle to rectify billing and charges; this results in a bad relationship with the vendor and clients unknowingly move to another vendor when they perceive that their current provider is making a mess of their account and giving an indifferent service.

Rate structures

rate structures vary by region and country, which US based corporate TEM suppliers may not be familiar with.

Forecasts are that Telecom Expense Management Market will grow from $1.14 billion in 2014 to $3.43 billion by 2019.

This represents a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 16.1% from 2014 to 2019.

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