Telco to Techco: Six tenets for success

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This report leverages findings from an extensive research programme conducted in EMEA, including interviews with eight different CSPs and a survey with 54 responses from CSPs across the region. The research explored the progress of telcos within EMEA as they adopt techco practices.


Format: PDF filePages: 39 pagesAuthor: Tim OttoPublication Date: August 2023

Table of Contents

  • Foreword
  • Executive Summary
    • Six tenets telcos must consider to pursue a techco transformation
  • Introduction
  • The enterprise customer: Potential growth for techcos
    • Slowing of consumer profit growth has led telcos to explore the enterprise opportunity
    • Telcos lack the prerequisite skills to properly target these customers
  • Complex and expensive networks limit the profitability of consumer products
    • Revenue increases as a result of 5G penetration are not enough to drive growth of the telco as a whole
    • Techcos will develop effective customer feedback loops and build only what is demanded
  • Changing the organisational model of a telco
    • Becoming a techco requires a more horizontal structure with fluid roles
    • Cross-functional teams with software-first KPIs will lead telcos into the new world
  • Sustainability: No longer a nice to have?
    • To reach net-zero targets, telcos must embed sustainability across the organisation
    • Collaboration will be instrumental to accelerate sustainability across the industry
  • Cloud native: Technology or mindset?
    • Network-as-a-service will enable techcos to offer transformative products
    • Internal automation and industry collaboration are critical steps to true cloud native NaaS
  • Ecosystem participation to develop new expertise
    • Techcos will leverage the skills of others through diverse ecosystems of partners
    • ISVs will bring applications and expertise to telcos developing their sector-specific capabilities
    • Telcos can leverage their trusted local presence to provide value and assurance in an open ecosystem
  • Conclusions and recommendations
    • Enterprise customer recommendations
    • Consumer customer recommendations
    • Organisational recommendations
    • Sustainability recommendations
    • Cloud native recommendations
    • Ecosystem recommendations

Table of Figures

  • Figure 1: Overview of our transformation index metrics
  • Figure 2: Overall output from STL Partners Telco to Techco benchmarking index
  • Figure 3: Telco revenues are growing at a much slower rate compared to the global internet giants
  • Figure 4: Six tenets for a successful techco transformation
  • Figure 5: Telco revenues, 2019-2022, trillions of US dollars
  • Figure 6: Question – What is the primary business objective for your 5G and edge strategy?
  • Figure 7: Question – Which areas do you think will drive this revenue growth?
  • Figure 8: Output from the STL Partners, Telco to Techco benchmarking index (consumer customer metrics)
  • Figure 9: 5G penetration correlates with revenue growth, stemming from premium consumer bundles
  • Figure 10: Telcos are undecided as to their organisation’s ability to innovate and understand the customer
  • Figure 11: Hyperscaler NPS vs. leading telco NPS
  • Figure 12: Question – Which steps do you think your organisation should prioritise to better facilitate digital transformation in the next 3 years?
  • Figure 13: Output from the STL Partners, Telco to Techco benchmarking index (Organisational model metrics)
  • Figure 14: A leading telco has adopted DORA metrics as key KPIs, prioritising agility and speed over reliability
  • Figure 15: Output from STL Partners Telco to Techco benchmarking index (sustainability metrics)
  • Figure 16: Question – In which area should your organisation prioritise higher levels of automation?
  • Figure 17: Global mobile network API revenue opportunity
  • Figure 18: Techcos will leverage open ecosystems for greater innovation and competition


Technologies and industry terms referenced include: 5G, Airtel, alibaba, apple, BT, CI/CD pipelines, cloud-native, EcoSystem, edge strategy, EMEA, google, hyperscaler NPS, ISV, KPN, Meta, network APIs, STC, Swisscom, techco, Telco, telco NPS, telco to techco, Telefonica, tencent, Vodafone