One op­er­a­tor

A new look at Africa’s tele­coms mar­ket win­ner-takes-all prize.

Finweek English Edition - - TECHNOLOGY -

Con­sol­i­da­tion seems to be an in­evitable com­po­nent of any ma­ture in­dus­try and tele­coms is no ex­cep­tion. In Africa, how­ever, the race for dom­i­nance runs par­al­lel to the rise of the mid­dle class and other phe­nom­ena of highly dy­namic, de­vel­op­ing mar­kets. Own­ing the hearts, minds and wal­lets of con­sumers is the goal as oper­a­tors and banks clash for the ul­ti­mate prize.

Deloitte’s lat­est in-depth look at tele­coms in Africa is aptly ti­tled Blue­print for the brave and de­scribes the mash­ing to­gether of in­dus­tries where no­body can lay ul­ti­mate claim to any of the things in con­sumer’s pock­ets.

Says Deloitte’s Arun Babu: “In­dus­try bound­aries are dis­man­tling, and own­ing the con­sumer ex­pe­ri­ence space is the prize.”

The in­ter­est­ing thing is that when com­peti­tors ar­rive from ad­ja­cent sec­tors, they bring with them a new out­look on the con­sumer ex­pe­ri­ence and other func­tion­al­ity that gives them a com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage. Since mo­bile rep­re­sents such a cen­tral role in ev­ery­day life, it’s a strug­gle be­tween the oper­a­tors that make the net­works pos­si­ble in the first place and ser­vice providers that bring new pos­si­bil­i­ties to the fore.

Says the Deloitte re­port, “New en­trants come with greater added value than the tra­di­tional car­ri­ers – for­eign me­dia and even ad­ver­tis­ing groups are view­ing tel­coms as a ready-made chan­nel to mar­ket… Will tel­coms, who

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