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.
The rapid growth of Facebook, WhatsApp, WeChat and other Internet-based services has prompted some commentators to write off telcos in the consumer communications market. But many mobile operators retain surprisingly large voice and messaging businesses and still have several strategic options. Indeed, there is much telcos can learn from the leading Internet players’ evolving communications propositions and their attempts to integrate them into broad commerce and content platforms. In this report we examine what opportunities still exist for telcos in this strategically important sector.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is improving rapidly thanks to the growing use of deep neural networks to teach computers how to interpret the real world (deep learning). These networks use vast amounts of detailed data to enable machines to learn. What are the potential benefits for telcos, and what do they need to do to make this happen?
Amazon, Facebook and Google are engaged in a global contest to become the pre-eminent broker of digital commerce between merchants and consumers. Google controls the leading digital platform – the Android smartphone. And Facebook dominates mobile messaging. But new digital platforms are emerging – the growing popularity of smart speakers, which rely on cloud-based artificial intelligence, could help Amazon, the original online chameleon, to bolster its fast-evolving ecosystem at the expense of Google and Facebook. As the digital food chain evolves, opportunities will open up for telcos, but only if the smart home market remains heterogeneous and very competitive.
Mobile messaging is fast becoming a key platform for digital commerce, mounting a challenge to Google Search, Amazon’s Marketplace and other two-sided platforms. As Facebook gears up to take advantage of this opportunity, some of the world’s largest telcos are working with Google to develop and deploy multimedia communications services that will work across networks and will replace SMS. But will it be too little, too late?
To date, discussions of the benefits to telcos of NFV and SDN have mainly focused on reducing operating and capital costs, while the impact on future telco revenues has been somewhat sketchy. In order to fill this gap, this report outlines a comprehensive set of potential new “telco cloud” services, and forecasts associated revenue growth.
Messaging services are increasingly enabling interactions and transactions between consumers and businesses. Largely pioneered by WeChat in China, the growing integration of digital communications and commerce services looks like a multi-billion dollar boon for Facebook and a major headache for Amazon, eBay and Google. It also poses a strategic dilemma for Apple and telcos: Can they turn their communications apps into shopping channels while championing privacy and security?
In 2014, AT&T launched its Domain 2.0 Programme to virtualise 75% of its network functions by 2020. So how is it going, and what are the lessons for others on the complex journey to the virtualised / agile Telco 2.0 digital vision?
Digital commerce continues to be held back by the lack of straightforward and consistent mechanisms for consumers to authenticate and identify themselves, share information and complete transactions with merchants. Telcos could address this fragmentation by creating a single framework through which individuals could interact with merchants, content companies and other service providers. Such a move would shore up telcos’ relevance and could ultimately increase their revenues. We show how, and review case studies from Deutsche Telekom (DTAG), Vodafone and KDDI.
Baidu, China’s answer to Google, is one of the world’s leading Internet companies by market capitalisation. But can Baidu break out of the Middle Kingdom? Fast-growing smartphone maker, Xiaomi, is building a multi-faceted ecosystem and a tribal brand among young people. What impact will Xiaomi have in Western Europe and North America? DJI, the world’s leading drone manufacturer, could become an anchor for a major ecosystem in the consumer robotics arena. But several obstacles may knock DJI off course.
Both Alibaba and Tencent have created formidable Internet ecosystems within China. However, the increasingly competitive Chinese economy is now slowing, and their continued growth depends on weakening the control of Google, Facebook and Amazon over the global digital commerce market. In the first of two reports on China, we examine Alibaba and Tencent’s services, business models, and aspirations, and explain how and why telcos should support their international expansion.
Since Google acquired Nest for $3.2bn, Apple and Samsung have also entered the complex battle for the connected home. We analyse in-depth why Google wanted Nest, the players’ goals and strategies, and what should telcos and others do to stay in the game?
Facing lockout from a growing chunk of the Internet and mounting competition from the Facebook-Microsoft alliance and Amazon, Google’s core business is under intense pressure. The search giant’s response is to innovate, offering consumers proactive recommendations, as well as reactive search results. Once an interesting sideline, Google Now has become fundamental to the Mountain View company’s future. Is the suggestion service good enough to maintain Google’s position as the world’s leading big data company?
Our new research shows how telcos can slow the decline of voice and messaging revenues and build new communications services to maximise revenues and relevance with both consumer and enterprise customers. It includes detailed forecasts for 9 markets, in which the total decline is forecast between -25% and -46% on a $375bn base between 2012 and 2018, giving telcos an $80bn opportunity to fight for. It also shows impacts and implications for other technology players including vendors and partners, and general lessons for competing with disruptive players in all markets. It looks at the impact of so-called OTT competition, market trends and drivers, bundling strategies, operators developing their own Telco-OTT apps, advanced Enterprise Communications services, and the opportunities to exploit new standards such as RCS, WebRTC and VoLTE. (November 2013, Executive Briefing Service). Future Value of Voice and Messaging Cover Small
Amazon, Google, Apple, eBay/PayPal and Facebook are the big five brokers of digital commerce. But the disruption caused by the rise of mass-market smartphones, and the personal data they generate, means the medium-term leadership of these California-based companies is not assured. Each of them has weaknesses that could hinder their progress towards securing a strong strategic position in the new Digital Commerce 2.0 marketplace, and render them potentially vulnerable to competition from telcos, banks and/or start-ups. (October 2013, Executive Briefing Service, Dealing with Disruption Stream.) Digital Commerce 2.0 Gap
The mobile commerce market is going through a critical ‘land-grab’ phase. This report reviews the strategies and tactics of the leading telcos and Internet players in Asia, Europe and North America as they seek to use the mobile medium to become an intermediary between buyers and sellers. It considers the pivotal role of the digital wallet, ‘big data’, the race to acquire merchants and the key alliances between telcos, banks, payment networks and Internet players (December 2012, Executive Briefing Service, Dealing with Disruption Stream)
Digital Commerce Flywheel December 2012