China Mobile tops Omdia’s 2023 digital strategy benchmark

China Mobile building
Image by askarim | Bigstockphoto

China Mobile is in first place in the 2023 edition of Omdia’s service provider digital strategy benchmark, which scores the digital strategies of 12 major global operator groups at a time when the established communications service provider business model is under growing pressure and many CSPs are responding by digitalizing their operations, developing services in areas beyond connectivity, and diversifying into new business sectors.

China Mobile tops Omdia's digital strategy benchmark
Digital strategy benchmark scores by service provider 2023

China Mobile leads benchmark

China Mobile’s lead in the benchmark, with a score of 27.5 points out of a potential maximum of 35, is a result of the scale at which it has deployed high-speed broadband and used that infrastructure as a platform to develop new services. SK Telecom is in second place in the benchmark, based on its drive to reinvent itself as an AI company and develop services in new areas such as the metaverse and urban air mobility. NTT Docomo is in the fourth spot because of its technology and digital services strengths.

“East Asian operators account for three of the top-four places in the benchmark, demonstrating that service providers in the region are among the most advanced in the world,” said Dario Talmesio, Research Director, Service Provider Strategy & Regulation, Omdia. “China Mobile is showing a particularly impressive speed of change, with digital transformation services now accounting for more than 25% of service revenues. China Mobile is rapidly turning itself into a TechCo operator with an array of digital services beyond connectivity.”

A further striking result is that UAE-based e& (formerly Etisalat), covered for the first time in this benchmark edition, is ranked equal fifth alongside Telefónica.

“e&’s strong showing is based on its new strategy, unveiled in early 2022, of transforming itself into a global technology and investment group—a strategy that it is pursuing vigorously,” said Matthew Reed, Chief Analyst, Service Provider Markets, Omdia.

Bharti Airtel is ranked seventh in the 2023 benchmark, up from ninth place in 2022 following Airtel’s launch of 5G in India in late 2022 and as Airtel continues to develop its sizeable portfolio of digital services.

Related article: China’s 5G combined with cloud creates growth opportunities

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