Although everyone agrees that the wholesale telecoms market faces some major challenges, the consensus among speakers and attendees at last month's 19th annual Carriers World conference and IPX Summit in London confirmed Ovum's long-held view that there are significant opportunities for proactive carriers willing to engage with their customers and partner with players from adjacent markets.
Presentations and discussions at the Carriers World conference ranged widely, addressing subjects as diverse as unified communications (UC), facilitating 5G development, network virtualization, and making sense of the carrier's role in the Internet of Things (IoT). However, exploring how wholesalers should act to meet the evolving needs of their customers in a rapidly changing market environment was the common theme throughout.
The combination of burgeoning demands for capacity, the competitive threat of new players, and the decline in prices for traditional services is increasing pressure on wholesalers to explore new relationships and business models. Speakers agreed with Ovum's repeated highlighting of the importance of partnering among wholesalers, retail service providers, and vendors to develop and roll out new services, to reach new markets, and to differentiate from competitors. Mindsets must change so that innovation and collaboration become the new normal operating model.
Wholesalers have an important role in the enablement of digital transformation through the interconnection and interoperation of different networks, communications services, and implementations. Whether this is in the established field of UC or the emerging market for IoT services, there are opportunities for wholesalers to carve out a place in the value chain. Wholesalers need to find ways to use the full capabilities of services such as IPX to increase revenues, but to do that they need to market their capabilities much better, not least to the other divisions in their own groups.
Many conference participants also confirmed the key conclusions of our latest Wholesale Customer Survey that customers need carriers to improve their flexibility, efficiency, integration, and commitment to developing mutually beneficial partnerships. Wholesalers must work hard to explore new services, markets, and relationships – they cannot afford to stand still.
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