Since the widespread adoption of smartphones and social media, methods for engaging customers and customers’ expectations from the brands they interact with have changed considerably. Customers now expect more real-time interactions. Consequently, many telcos are putting customer experience at the heart of their digital transformation initiatives.
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?
The spread of 3G and 4G mobile networks in Africa and developing Asia, together with the growing adoption of low cost smartphones, is helping Facebook, YouTube, Netflix and other global online entertainment platforms gain traction in emerging markets. But some major international telcos, such as Vodafone and MTN, also have well-established and multi-faceted online entertainment offerings in Africa and developing Asia. How robust are these telcos’ entertainment services? Can they fend off the mounting challenge from global Internet players? What is working for Vodafone India and MTN and what needs a rethink?
Some of the world’s largest telcos see the fast-growing demand for online entertainment as a golden opportunity to shore up their revenues and relevance. BT, Telefónica and Verizon are among the major telcos pumping billions of dollars into building end-to-end entertainment offerings that can compete with those of the major Internet platforms. But how well prepared are telcos to respond to the forces set to disrupt this fast-changing market?
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.
Online entertainment is increasingly dominated by 5 big platforms but 6 forces are likely to shape the market going forward and could have profound effects on the dominant platforms. We analyse the relative strengths and weaknesses of each player and explore the potential opportunities for telcos to compete and collaborate.