ETIS asks some important questions and gets some interesting answers

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ETIS, the community for telecom professionals, asked two poll question of attendees at its recent virtual gathering.

One question (see below for how the question was formed) was about the future role of the telco and what services a telco would expect to be offering in 10 years.

Refreshingly only 5% of the ETIS group responded with simple connectivity. Subsequent questions applied to services telcos would deliver on top. Only an extra 3% cited TV, which means that it still on telcos’ radar, but it seems they have spotted better opportunities elsewhere. Besides, competing in that sector is tough.

Smart bit pipe services, a term which seems a little like sitting on the fence, but included connectivity and service enablement for other sectors such as healthcare, got 23% of the vote. In comparison, “a small set of value-added services across a small range of sectors” and “a wide set of value-added services in many sectors” scored in the mid 30% mark.

Of course, ETIS represents a wide range of telcos, and each telco will have a different strategy. Some will be targeting a wide range of sectors, and others will be focusing on consumers. Others still will be building focused expertise in just a handful of arenas.

Which means, oddly, that all the answers are valid and everyone is right.

Very few telcos believe that they exist simply to provide connectivity services is possibly the most refreshing result from the ETIS poll. We have long discussed how telcos can move up the value chain. We have all got excited in the conference bar, late at night, putting the world to rights and reinventing the telco along the way.

Now, it seems – at least from the ETIS poll – that telcos truly believe that their role is very involved in supporting and partnering other sectors, and examples are already emerging of telcos launching some innovative 5G services.

The next few years will be interesting to watch, and the next few ETIS polls will reflect how we are doing and where we are going.

In another interesting question, 55% of the ETIS respondents believe that telcos will meet carbon targets by 2030 and play an important role in helping other sectors meet their targets.

Now there is an interesting challenge for an industry!

The question itself:

What is the future role of a telco? What services will a telco offer 10 years from now? Telcos will offer: (choose one)

  • Option 1: Only (internet) connectivity services. Basically, they become a dumb bit pipe, a commodity service
  • Option 2: On top of option 1, Telcos will also offer communication and TV services.
  • Option 3: On top of services in option 2 telcos will also provide smart bitpipe services (incl. connectivity, app. enablement & serv. platforms) for other sectors (health, manufacturing, energy, etc.)
  • Option 4: on top of services included in option 3 telcos will also offer a SMALL SET of additional Value-Added Services in a limited number of sectors (health, manufacturing, energy, etc.).
  • Option 5: on top of services included in option 4 telcos will also offer a WIDE SET of Value-Added Services in many sectors.

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