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Summary

Participants in Ovum’s seventh and largest biennial Wholesale Customer Survey reported improved performance from their suppliers. However, wholesalers cannot afford to rest on their laurels. Wholesale customers are becoming more diverse, and wholesalers must respond to an increasing variety of business models, service needs, loyalties, customer bases, and priorities with much greater flexibility.

Wholesalers must increase their flexibility and responsiveness

Ovum’s Wholesale Telecoms team has surveyed the largest ever sample of wholesale customers from across the globe, learning about their priorities when selecting a new supplier and their opinions of how well their existing suppliers are performing. The good news is that wholesalers’ performance has improved for most criteria. However, performance ratings for the majority of criteria fell short of their importance to wholesale customers – particularly for criteria in the Price, Quality, and Organizational flexibility categories.

Emerging types of wholesale customers, such as M2M and OTT service providers, demand agile and responsive suppliers that will adapt to their needs. They want more flexible service and solution portfolios, business processes and systems, and price and quality combinations. Furthermore, the more traditional types of wholesale customer are becoming increasingly demanding in terms of flexibility. Wholesalers must adapt quickly to this more dynamic future if they are to retain and grow business.

The 2015 survey also revealed that wholesale customers are now more willing to use multiple suppliers to secure the services they need, with the quality they want, for a price they can afford. As a consequence, wholesale customer loyalty is ebbing. New customer segments are less interested in developing long-term relationships with their suppliers, and wholesalers are perceived as reluctant to invest the necessary time and effort to maintain relationships with customers.

This combination of performance shortcomings, inflexibility, and reduced interest in long-term relationships between wholesalers and their customers increases the risk that wholesale markets will become characterized by a much more volatile and challenging mindset. Wholesalers must act now to improve their responsiveness, increase their flexibility, and build mutually beneficial long-term relationships with their customers.

Appendix

Further reading

Wholesale Customer Survey 2015: Summary Findings, TE0012-000535 (September 2015)

Wholesale Customer Survey 2015: Changing Attitudes to Price, TE0012-000551 (November 2015)

Wholesale Customer Survey 2015: The Importance of Quality, TE0012-000552 (November 2015)

Wholesale Customer Survey 2015: Portfolio Priorities, TE0012-000553 (October 2015)

Wholesale Customer Survey 2015: Relationships and Reputation, TE0012-000554 (November 2015)

Author

David James, Practice Leader, Wholesale Telecoms

david.james@ovum.com

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