This year, the wholesale telecoms industry will wake up to customers’ shifting priorities, the risks posed by internal conflict between wholesale and enterprise channels, the threats posed by new entrants into the market, and signs that structural change is finally coming to voice interconnection.
This is according to Ovum’s Wholesale Telecoms 2014 Trends-to-Watch report, which urges wholesalers to exploit these trends by differentiating from or partnering with new entrants, minimising internal channel conflicts, becoming more responsive to customers, and exploring emerging alternative models for voice interconnection.
“Despite its reputation for being rather traditional, unexciting, and averse to change, the wholesale telecoms market continues to evolve to meet the rapidly changing demands of retail service providers and other intermediaries," says David James, Principal Analyst, Wholesale Telecoms, Ovum.
"Since the turn of the millennium wholesale has transformed from a sleepy backwater that few discussed into a valuable source of revenue for many telcos.
"To remain effective, wholesalers must continue to respond to new developments.”
Wholesale Telecoms Trends-to-Watch highlights:
• Competition will grow in national wholesale markets
Traditional wholesalers must not consider existing revenue streams to be safe. Instead they should actively compete with new entrants, differentiating their offering in terms of service reach, breadth and depth of portfolio, quality, responsiveness, reliability, or customer service.
However, established players should also seriously consider partnering with new entrants that have lower costs, greater quality, or other advantage over their own capabilities.
• Conflicts between wholesale and enterprise channels will increase
We expect carriers to continue turning their standalone wholesale units into lines of business (LOBs) reporting into their enterprise counterparts. But to reduce enterprise-versus-wholesale channel conflicts, carriers should clearly define and strictly enforce customer segmentations, with accounts assigned to one channel or the other.
• Customers will require wholesalers to be more responsive
Providers of wholesale services must realise that intermediaries need to be able to give their customers reliable dates for service availability. Hence, wholesalers must take action to improve systems and processes to speed up the delivery of services and the prediction, diagnosis, and resolution of faults.
• Voice interconnection will show signs of structural change
For the first time, regulatory, retail, and wholesale trends are all pushing in the same direction. 2014 will see the beginning of changes in pricing regimes for voice interconnection as retail telcos look to reset their voice cost base.
However, the time has come for wholesalers to dust off those alternative pricing models and start testing which are and are not fit for purpose. Likewise, retailers that operate in markets where the trends are moving fastest should be talking to their wholesale providers to understand their options and plan for a long-term transition to new and sustainable voice models.