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Telecoms in 2020: a Vision of the Future

Jan Dawson, Chief Telecoms Analyst, Ovum Telecoms

Date: Monday, June 27

Time: 9:20 - 9:50 AM

Location: Salon E

Category: Digital Economics & Business Models

Ovum's series of reports on Telecoms in 2020 outlines a vision for the telecommunications industry - really a converged content, media and communications industry - in 2020. The industry will look radically different, with two broad types of players dominating the telecoms elements in the consumer market - SMART players and LEAN operators.  

  • SMART players represent service providers offering Services, Management, Applications, Relationships and Technology, combining a complete solution for consuming content and media over a variety of devices and networks. 
  • LEAN operators will be Low-cost Enablers of Agnostic Networks, offering high quality, optimized networks which will largely be served up to SMART players, who in turn will bundle this connectivity into their solutions. 
  • Today's operators are prime candidates for the LEAN operator role, but they are only one of the possible candidates for the SMART player role, and will face stiff competition from online service providers such as Google, consumer electronics and device vendors such as Apple and Sony, and others.
  • The path to SMART for operators requires a dramatic shift in culture, business models and capabilities, and although the new reality will be realized only over a substantial period of time, these changes need to begin today if operators are to be competitive and have a real shot at becoming SMART players. 
  • Leading edge operators are starting to take the first steps on this path now, and others can follow. Some examples are Verizon in the US and Orange in France. 
  • If operators fail to prepare themselves from this future and consciously choose one or other of these options, they risk finding themselves standing on an increasingly unsustainable middle ground, being squashed between LEAN operators on the one hand and SMART players on the other.
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