“Predictable” is among the last words you would use to describe the telecom industry. New technologies, business models and competitors are constantly entering the market, making it a challenge for communication service providers (CSPs) to keep up with change, let alone get ahead.
Still, looking ahead is essential to success. Back in January, we gave our predictions for what 2022 would bring in telecom and the innovation we would see from CSPs. Now is a great time to revisit some of those predictions (especially where they came to fruition).
Let’s look back on the trends that shaped the telecom industry for the first nine months of 2022—and look forward to how CSPs can remain competitive.
METAVERSE PULSE CHECK
In January, we talked about how the metaverse would open new doors for organizations to create experiences for businesses and consumers. With companies launching virtual content and services from education to entertainment, notable brands like fashion leader Gucci plunged headfirst into the metaverse with its virtual accessories and the opening of Gucci Town, a permanent virtual space hosted by Roblox.
We have even seen entire cities launch a metaverse strategy. In July, Dubai announced that it aims to use metaverse technology for public services and communication with residents, ultimately turning the city into “one of the world’s top ten metaverse economies.”
As the role of the CSP continues to evolve in the metaverse, we have seen operators like SK Telecom embrace the concept of partner ecosystems and provide the foundation for virtual human interaction. By moving beyond connectivity and into mastering ecosystems enabled by 5G’s low latency and unbroken connection, CSPs have started to realize the full potential of the metaverse. At CSG, we are excited to see how the metaverse matures in the next 12-24 months and look forward to continuing to support our customers as they navigate their metaverse journey.
TO ECOSYSTEMS AND BEYOND
In the last nine months, we have seen a recurring need for CSPs to move beyond connectivity and manage complex ecosystems that support a wide range of verticals from healthcare to agriculture. Sparked by a business model where operators expand their footprint with network-as-a-service (NaaS) offerings, the cultural revolution is real.
Now we are seeing the first stages of an exciting era of transformation and growth as operators adopt agile new technologies and launch new services that excite their consumer and enterprise customers. Embracing the growth potential of NaaS allows CSPs to harvest the low-hanging fruits of providing connectivity services in the background whilst leaving their partners to manage and nourish the relationship with end users. Doing so calls for an open, integrated, end-to-end software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution that can help them simplify multi-sided B2B2X ecosystems and thrive in the digital economy. This is where cloud-based, modular platform solutions built on the TM Forum standards for Open Digital Architecture and Open APIs like CSG Encompass come into the picture. By unifying complex commerce journeys, these solutions make it easier for CSPs to deliver an impactful 5G B2B2X ecosystem.
The B2B2X ecosystem approach is undoubtedly becoming more visible. Organizations such as VicTrack are reinventing how they package expertise, technology, and 5G capabilities to help enterprise customers realize their digital transformation strategies with impact and own the ecosystem.
THE CSP CULTURAL SHIFT CONTINUES
Since January, we have seen a cultural shift stemming from CSPs bundling their offerings and laying the foundations for vertical ecosystem services. These services include core SaaS solutions packaged in innovative ways for billing, settlements and connectivity. With this shift in best practices, complex partner ecosystems have emerged. CSPs desperately need an end-to-end solution that enables marketplaces and zero-touch partnering, which would create dynamic, interoperable ecosystems that deliver industry-specific solutions.
We saw this at CKH Innovations Opportunities Development (CKH IOD), which wanted flexibility and scalability to innovate with changing business models. Now, CKH IOD uses CSG’s SaaS platform to simplify integration, build loyal partner relationships, and deliver future-ready digital offerings with a winning experience to its multinational mobile virtual network operator and Internet of Things (IoT) customers.
CSPs’ ability to manage the partner settlement lifecycle, as well as withstand the high volumes that digital services create, remains on full display. However, leading CSPs are finding ways to be nimbler and discover partners who can help them think bigger, invent new revenue streams, minimize go-to-market costs and maximize profits.
SEAMLESS CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
With widespread digital transformation showing no signs of slowing down, enterprise customers have increasingly adopted consumer-like characteristics when they shop for new products and services. Like consumers, enterprises want a seamless journey from purchase to deployment at a pace previously impossible. In the 5G era, IoT, edge computing and ultra-fast, low-latency connectivity have become key for enterprises to compete as CSPs continue stepping up to the plate to provide these services.
In turn, this is putting pressure on CSPs as they are bound to continue demonstrating flexibility, facilitating frictionless partner-to-partner interactions, and putting their customers at the heart of everything they do. Operators can do this with a marketplace solution that lets them integrate third-party content providers in a unified platform, and enables them to deliver seamless, personalized, omnichannel experiences. These capabilities make all kinds of exceptional customer experiences possible, such as how TalkTalk launched the UK’s first-ever Netflix subscription outside of traditional TV bundling. TalkTalk now has the scalability to add new content providers and evolve its offering at pace with ever-changing consumer demands.
For CSPs, the signs should be obvious by now. There are no chances of succeeding and remaining competitive in the future without providing an extraordinary customer experience.
Recognizing trends is one matter. Being positioned to capitalize on them is another. Find out what CSPs need to seize opportunities in the 5G economy by downloading our joint report with Analysys Mason, “The BSS Building Blocks of the Future.”