The telecommunications market continues its transformation into the industry underpinning the digital, sharing and interconnected economy. This transformation is mainly driven by the ongoing innovations and technological developments that are taking place. More often than not the industry itself is struggling to keep up with these rapid changes.
The convergence that we have been talking about for more than 20 years is now happening, but driven by disruption rather than well-considered strategies and marketing campaigns.
The internet companies have been able to embed many of the traditional telecoms services into their offerings, often at little or no cost to their customers. Telecommunications is a way for them to offer a range of other internet services and it is from these that they make their money.
As a consequence, the underlying infrastructure is increasingly becoming a national utility and it will soon be treated as such from a regulatory perspective. The New Zealand government has already foreshadowed such changes for its regulatory regime.
This, of course, is putting enormous pressure on the traditional industry. Overall the growth in this segment of the telco industry is stagnating, and often the only way to maintain profitability is through cost-cutting. On the positive side, innovations and technological developments allow these companies to be more cost-competitive. While there is still a very large cost gap between the internet companies and the traditional telcos, the telcos are certainly getting better at becoming more efficient and effective. Another outcome of these pressures is the ongoing consolidation of the industry, a process that will continue in 2017.
Although their revenue might not be growing all that much, usage of their services is, and this allows them to maintain their pricing by offering more services for the same money. Here again, significant improvements in software and network efficiencies allow them to do so.
Number of pages 18
Last updated 7 Dec 2016
Analyst: Paul Budde
In 2009 Paul contacted me and we engaged in the brainstorming sessions that led to the development of the UN Broadband Commission for Digital Development.
Paul is a visionary with a keen strategic approach. He is a powerful communicator, provides succinct analyses and has a complete knowledge of all the key information and communications technologies relating to broadband.
Dr Hamadoun Touré, Secretary General International Telecommunications Union (ITU) 2006-2014
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