The forgotten piece of the digital opportunity puzzle

monitor-puzzle-lock-and-keyThis week a report came out from Analysis Mason saying that this year alone, operators generated US$10 billion worldwide from M2M services. Moreover, it is expected that M2M revenues will increase to US$88 billion by 2023. Now I can’t say I fell off my chair in shock when I read this as lately it seems I can’t do a Google search without reading about how M2M is the ‘next big opportunity’ for telcos. And along with this now familiar term, among the top most overly hyped opportunities for telcos are OTT, cloud, IoT, media services, payments and numerous others.

Now to be honest, it’s my job to make sure we include these bourgeoning buzz terms and awesome acronyms in our programmes for the Broadband World Forum. But what I have been noticing of late is that we have missed a trick. Coverage of these topics has so far largely gravitated toward retail focused discussions and a core piece of the proverbial puzzle has been missing.

We know that operators are increasingly recognising the popularity of these kinds of services with customers and are adapting their strategies and business models to present compelling digital offerings.

Unfortunately, it seems to me that the area that seems commonly neglected in the discussion of these offerings is wholesale. It certainly seems like most of the hype surrounding cloud overlooks how cloud services are enabled by the infrastructure and services provided by telecoms wholesalers.

So why am I bringing this up? The answer is because telecom operators will increasingly be dependent on wholesale to satisfy their customer’s needs and I think it’s about time we engaged this corner of the ecosystem more explicitly in the discussions around digital services opportunities.

The spate of new services and applications customers are demanding present a massive opportunity for the global wholesale ecosystem and is rapidly transforming the wholesale landscape.

I’ve been talking to Julio Püschel, Principal Analyst and Head of Operator Strategy for Informa Telecoms & Media, and he asserts that new strategies are required for wholesalers to remain competitive, and even thrive, in the evolving industry. Wholesalers have and will need to continue to evolve from focusing solely on international carrier services to offering a full range of wholesale infrastructure and value-added services.

I’m interested in delving more deeply into this and explore how telecoms wholesale players are developing their business strategies and models. What are the greatest areas of opportunity and where are the challenges?

This and more will feature at Broadband World Forum in two brand new events. First, we have built into our agenda our own Wholesale Summit, and second for time first ever we are doing a Broadband World Forum webinar! The webinar takes place on the 17th September.  Check out the Broadband World Forum website for more details on both these events.


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