In two different articles, one basic assumption became apparent. That telcos should think ‘business first, technology second’ – whatever the technology happens to be.
First, ZTE VP Chao Xiong described how success with 5G would come about if solutions could be tailored to each company’s requirements. He acknowledged that this would mean many different network designs and functionality, but 5G can provide this level of sophistication. In essence, a business first approach can be supported by 5G in ways that technology has not enjoyed before.
As companies of all shapes and sizes become deeply digital, the telco’s role moves from technology and connectivity provider to solution provider. And if telcos get it right, they will be the prime contractor for all the different partners needed in the many different scenarios.
Interestingly, in India, the same business-first approach is being adopted, without 5G being part of the picture. In fact, 5G auctions in the country have been a lacklustre affair.
Three of the country’s major telcos are shifting their focus onto the needs of enterprises as they digitise their businesses to adapt to rapidly shifting needs – mainly driven by the pandemic. Even without 5G, telcos are adopting this business first attitude which finally seems to be embedding itself in telcos’ DNA.
To illustrate the scale of the shift in India, telcos have been deriving just 10% of their revenues from the enterprise sector, which could grow to 20-25% in the next two years.
In this hyper-competitive environment, telcos are boldly trying new things. Airtel is trying Airtel Ads to enter the advertising fray and is also investing in cybersecurity services as part of its portfolio. Vodafone Idea, meanwhile, is busy growing its network of partners to address the many different business solutions that they believe they will need to deliver over the next few years.
So, even in these two examples, it is clear that telcos are changing fast. A business first attitude is seeping through organisations and paving the way to new look, business focused operations.
It is good news, for everyone. But, boy it has taken some time!