TELECOMS SHAKE-UP COMING
IF TELECOMMUNICATIONS companies want to be more than simply providers of bandwidth in five years’ time, they need to move quickly to ready themselves for the changes ahead. Gartner analyst Will Hahn, speaking at the Garter symposium in Cape Town last week, warned that telecoms providers that didn’t transform would be in “a whole lot of trouble”.
Those carriers are under threat from a host of potential competitors – including new competitors, such as Google – that operate under a completely different set of rules than telecoms operators. There are also threats from new Internet protocol-based architectures that are more cost-effective to operate, content providers trying to take ownership of the client, the need to spend large amounts of money at a time when revenues are declining and new, more efficient business models usurping traditional ones.
Operators such as Telkom are already starting to see a marked drop in fixed voice revenues and the growth in fixed data and even mobile voice is starting to plateau, Hahn warned. The only market area expanding was mobile data.
Hahn said operators should currently be preparing for the massive change going to hit the market before 2012. Failure to do so wouldn’t result in companies closing but they’d certainly be relegated to a utility position, where all they’d be doing was providing low margin services to their current competitors.
There’s also a shift happening, with Asia overtaking Europe (and soon the United States) as the world’s largest telecoms market. The Middle East and Africa, while far behind the developed world, had moved ahead of Latin America and is growing faster than any other region.