Finweek English Edition - - Communication & Technology - BENE­DICT KELLY benk@fin­

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.