Telecom Operators: dinosaurs or mutants? Wanna know the answer? Really?

On Monday June 24th in the evening, I have attended a promising conference about the Telecom Operators 2020 agenda, organized by the G9+ think tank (Twitter: @InstitutG9plus). Top flyers on stage, top attendees in the room, alumni from the best French schools, I was expecting high-level discussions and impressive insights for the future.

How can I tell? Except for some bashing on Twitter (hashtag: #G9plus), the talks have been formal and conventional, focused on technical issues, and especially on the carrier mission of the Telecom Operators. As stated by John Stratton, President Verizon Enterprise Solutions, in a pre-recorded interview, “my core is still my core”; blatantly, Verizon does not expect to become some kind of software vendor or content provider, but will remain mostly an infrastructure company.

Same during the panel talks, including namely Thierry Bonhomme, Senior Exec VP Orange Business Services, when 90% of the talks have been focused on the communication pipelines, such as LTE/4G or Fiber, and only in the very last minutes, the contents have been mentioned, mostly to say that this is none of the Operators’ business…

So, are Telecom Operators dinosaurs or mutants? Clearly, undoubtedly, Dinos.

This is a bit scary for the future, I must say. as Telecom Operators currently use most of their power to prevent anything dangerous to happen, and to protect their positions. See Benoit Felten paper on ZDNet (in French…) about the will of the Telecom Industry to promote more Protectionism in Europe, and you will get my point…

Telecom Operators are acting like Automakers who would promote their cars solely by taking the breadth of the road into account, so that more cars would be able to drive at the same time. But clients do not care for broader roads, they care for better cars, less costly, less consuming, more sustainable, more user-friendly…

A lot of possible innovations and development options for Telecom Operators are still open, should they believe that their fiercer competitors in chasing the Telecom client added value are not other Telco’s but are rather named Google, Apple, Samsung, Amazon…

So, what next? Just yelling at Telecom Operators, I shall use Solofo Rafeno’s sentence (adapted from one of his yesterday’s Twit): “Gentlemen ! What if you talked about your future, Added-Value Services, Cloud, Apps, new forms of distribution, affiliation, instead of bits & bytes…”

2 thoughts on “Telecom Operators: dinosaurs or mutants? Wanna know the answer? Really?”

  1. I think telcos are torn between preserving their profit margins, on which many public pension funds depend and for which (I suspect) their respective governments tolerate a degree of market abuse), and actually leveraging their power and technology to destroy their competitors and have some geeky fun. Admitting this in public would not be a good idea, but it would be great news for the hacks who were there to report it.

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