MWC: Telcos ‘waste 50% of resources’

Alan Burkitt-Gray
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Poor systems mean that telecoms companies are as poor in their operations as manufacturing was 50 years ago, say speakers at Huawei forum

The telecoms industry is wasting up to 50% of its resources because of inefficient operations, which are as bad as manufacturing industry 50 years ago, executives have been told.

Speaking at a forum the day before the official opening of Mobile World Congress, Olaf Rense, a senior partner at Boston Consulting Group, condemned the industry for not using its resources in the most efficient way – resulting in poor service for customers.

“There’s up to 50% of waste in operations – there are still a lot of manual processes in call centres and so on. Network maintenance wastes 30-40% of resources.”

The effect is a Net Promoter Score (NPS) “at the bottom of the back”, said Rense, speaking at Huawei’s Operations Transformation Summit in Barcelona on Sunday, the day before the start of Mobile World Congress.

Only public services were above telecoms, “but that’s not what we want to compare ourselves with”, he added. He gave the industry hope, suggesting that telecoms could do “what manufacturing industries have gone through 50 years ago”.

Another speaker at the meeting, Sanjeet Paul Choudary, CEO of Pipes to Platforms, said many operators were missing the opportunities of the internet of things (IoT) by focusing only on the infrastructure. They were missing out on the other essential parts of the ecosystem.

They risk becoming bitpipes for enterprise business, having already lost out to over-the-top (OTT) providers in the consumer world, he said.

“Telcos have the opportunity to regain the communications ecosystem in the industrial space, even if they have lost it to some extent in the consumer space,” said Choudary.

ABG - Huawei - MWC17 280x183Chris Penrose, president of AT&T IoT solutions, said in an on-stage interview with Alan Burkitt-Gray, editor of Global Telecoms Business, that there was an opportunity for systems integrators and industrial giants in the IoT. “We can provide connectivity and that’s what we do really, really well.” But AT&T was providing “different pieces” to allow companies to benefit from the IoT.

“The opportunities are limitless,” said Penrose. “We are on a must faster journey to autonomous cars than people expected a few years ago.”

Companies such as Otis are using IoT to reset their elevators, he said, avoiding visits by technicians. Low-power networks called LTE-M are beginning to be deployed around the world “for quirky things”, he said – reaching where normal mobile signals don’t get, with battery life of up to 10 years. GTB