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Telcos and the major Internet platforms increasingly rely on each other. What kinds of agreements should operators enter into with Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google and what should they avoid? And what are the strategic implications of supporting players who habitually use their powerful brands and software expertise to disrupt entire industries?
With iPhone sales apparently peaking, Apple is looking to double its revenue from services over the next four years to approximately US$50 billion, taking it deeper into adjacent markets, such as entertainment, financial services and communications. However, Apple trails behind Google in developing artificial intelligence and needs to extend the reach of its services to capture more behavioural data. If Apple decides to decouple more of its key services from its hardware, that would have major ramifications for Google, Amazon, Facebook and many of the world’s leading telcos.
To find new revenues, some telcos are competing head-on with the major internet players in the digital communications, content and commerce markets. Although telcos’ track record in digital services is poor, some are gaining traction. AT&T, Axiata, Reliance Jio and Turkcell are each pursuing very different digital services strategies, and we believe these potentially disruptive moves offer valuable lessons for other telcos and their partners.