In this holiday season (2017), I happen to chat with a customer about change. Why is innovation so hard? The answer is change. No where is change harder than traditional telecommunications CSPs. The impact is starting to show, OTT services are growing and unstoppable. Traditional offers are withering. Hardware providers (NEPs) are also on the ropes. A Business Insider articles states that “it’s time to say goodbye to the text message“. Papworth first used SMS texting in a telecom hardware provider (Sema). He sent it to Jarvis, a telecom service provider (Vodafone). As an aside, the first text was “Merry Christmas”. Gone are the days that innovation comes from NEPs and CSPs. Providers need to accept change.
If that chart does not help show it, how about a personal testimonial. Below is the usage from my mobile provider. My account (#1), leverages OTT offerings all day long for voice, data, and communications. When I am traveling between offices and meetings I use mobile voice. I use data to check and send email. If I am in the office, I am using wifi. I am like many other mobile consumers.
Then there is my wife (#2, don’t tell her). She is always in motion and must be completely mobile. There is no wifi available at the park or in the playground. My wife texts because she does not have the time to dedicate to a long conversation. She texts because she wants to communicate via groups. Data is used because of facebook and pinterest. My wife is like many other mobile consumers.
Maybe 5G will change things? Maybe the next iPhone XYZ will break us both out of our patterns? We can agree that how we use our phone is going to change. Technology is a constant ‘game changer’. I for one look for change, but does my service provider? There is a lot of uncertainty in mobility. One thing is for sure, gone are the days that voice and text drive our communications.
Change in Telecommunications
What this means for telecoms? The value of “change” needs to embraced. Change means opportunity. As the business insider chart shows, fewer people are using a 25-year-old technology. Innovations by NEPs and CSPs are fewer than ASPs and OTT providers. The reason is change. Embracing change drives innovation. Innovation provides market opportunities. They also make consumers happier.
The road for telecoms is clear and many are already following. First they need to embrace OTT, not fight them (remember net-neutrality?). T-Mobile with Netflix is showing the way. Sprint just announced partnership with Hulu. Together providers can provide a single throat to choke and cement customers in.
Next, telecoms need to leapfrog OTT providers. Telecoms need to get back to their R&D, pioneering days. Verizon has made investment in purchasing Yahoo and AOL. AT&T is acquiring Time-Warner. This is a good start, but innovation needs to come to telecoms – before its too late. Before we say gone are the days CSPs have control of their customers.
The text message is dead (SMS), long live the text message (Facebook)… Gone are the days…
Serial entrepreneur and operations subject matter expert who likes to help customers and partners achieve solutions that solve critical problems. Experience in traditional telecom, ITIL enterprise, global manage service providers, and datacenter hosting providers. Expertise in optical DWDM, MPLS networks, MEF Ethernet, COTS applications, custom applications, SDDC virtualized, and SDN/NFV virtualized infrastructure. Based out of Dallas, Texas US area and currently working for one of his founded companies – Monolith Software.