David Sharma: unprecedented opportunities by offering customers access to applications without adding to infrastructure
The globalisation of the telecoms industry is a prolific trend heading into 2008, compelling operators and service providers of every kind to look for new revenue opportunities beyond their national boundaries and traditional business constituencies.
Perhaps the greatest challenge to emerge in this period of change is for operators to identify trusted partners that can help them grow: trusted partners that can provide the technologies, applications and knowledge to take advantage of a landscape that is becoming rapidly deregulated without competing for the same business.
Carriers that develop an extensive understanding of the concerns of senior executives throughout the industry as they come to terms with a world in which rules, players and technology are evolving with increasing speed will ultimately succeed in this increasingly collaborative environment.
And this scale of collaboration on technology and meeting customer expectations in ground-breaking ways will be the sign of a truly healthy telecoms industry.
Deregulation, of course, is a major agent of change. Inevitably, it begins to shift the rules of engagement by removing historic restrictions and obligations. In turn, the industry is adapting to the dynamics of a true competitive marketplace driven by increasing demand for new enhanced services and applications in a post-Web 2.0 world.
For example, we have observed at first hand the recent efforts of the Canadian telecoms regulator to redefine competitor wholesale services. A decision on its findings will be announced this year.
As the rules change around the world it is critical to find global partnerships that understand such adjustments in the regulatory regime. Carriers are looking for growth outside their home territories, and as providers prioritise international growth they require deeper domestic partnerships to augment their investments.
Trusted partners need to understand what it's like to be at the heart of the IP evolution, delivering the seamless experience demanded by today's telecoms customers regardless of their location, their size or the nature of their business.
The real key is to monetise investments in traditional services and collaborate on identifying ways to build out non-traditional services. As wholesale executives ask how IP adoption rates will offset declining revenues associated with traditional services, software as a service comes into its own as a delivery infrastructure for telecoms, cable and internet service providers, enabling them to take advantage of the explosion in enthusiasm for on-demand applications.
Service providers of all types and sizes must seek out partners with expertise in this delivery model. This way they can take advantage of the unprecedented opportunities created by the ability to offer their customers access to application bundles on tap without placing any additional burden on their own infrastructure — a crucial asset if they want to play in a market that, according to industry research firm Gartner, will be worth $19 billion by 2011.
In an accelerating global market, success for incumbents and for emerging players depends on sharing best practices and establishing global standards.
Carriers need to be equally comfortable helping a European or Asian service provider to deliver the same seamless IP VPN experience for a customer with a foreign presence that would be expected back home.
But in order to offer that diverse range of support, it is critical for them to play an active role in key organisations such as IPsphere Forum, the TeleManagement Forum, the Metro Ethernet Forum and the International Engineering Consortium, which give them a direct connection with the vital nerve centres driving the development of these technologies.
With the increase of free market forces and global economies, there has never been a time of such empowering opportunity in the telecoms industry. As wholesale carriers design our future, four trends will define the wholesale telecoms market in 2008: globalization of the wholesale market will continue; deregulation in many markets will accelerate; there will be significant growth in global wireless traffic; and non-traditional offerings and competitors will continue to create opportunity.
Carriers with unrivalled industry expertise, a history of developing innovative solutions woven into their fabric, and a commitment to providing a seamless customer experience will be the strongest possible contenders to be the trusted partner of choice in a globalised world.
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David Sharma is president of global markets, partner solutions, at Telus Communications