Industry body calls strategic ‘code red’, outlines key choices facing telecoms operators
London, UK – August 31, 2023 – TM Forum today launched its first CEO Playbook, designed to help telecoms leaders reignite growth by selecting the right strategy for their organizations. Created in collaboration with world-renowned business advisor Sangeet Paul Choudary, author of Platform Revolution, Anthony Rodrigo, CIO, Axiata Group, and a wide range of business leaders from the Forum’s global membership, the CEO Playbook supports leaders in facing, navigating and addressing the challenges faced by the global telecoms industry.
Following 15 years of disruption and opportunity in the digital economy, communications service providers (CSPs) have broadly emerged as commoditized, asset-intensive businesses. The industry has become fragmented and gridlocked, unable to grow, innovate or move forward. The CEO Playbook seeks to start a dialogue and drive practical action to unlock growth potential for the industry.
“As an industry, we’ve reached a strategic breakpoint. It’s time to act collectively and decisively. We’re calling ‘code red’ on the global telecoms sector. Our industry’s investment – some $1 trillion in the last five years – has delivered 0.9% growth. This is simply not sustainable, we’ve become disconnected from growth,” said Nik Willetts, CEO, TM Forum and a co-author of the CEO Playbook. “We must face some uncomfortable truths and address them at speed. We estimate that connectivity providers have just three years to get fit to capitalize on a wave of opportunity. I’m optimistic that, together, we can make that happen. This first edition Playbook drives CSP leadership to fundamentally rethink their operating models, partner to deliver solutions not technologies, and adopt firm positions in new value ecosystems. Critical to delivering this will be simplifying, modernizing and automating how we as an industry do business.”
The CEO Playbook outlines a new strategic playing field CSPs must navigate, deciding where to play and where to partner to capture value as society continues to digitize:
- NetCo: provide Network-as-a-Service capabilities (access) via a range of technologies. NetCos must be hyper-efficient and focused on automation and simplification due to their asset-heavy nature.
- Platform-ready Connectivity Provider: deliver connectivity-as-a-service (CaaS) and pre-integrated services such as mobile edge computing. These providers can aggregate access from multiple NetCos and technologies to deliver multi-geography CaaS.
- Innovation Platform Provider: providing a platform for innovation and solutions, co-delivered with partners. Deliver integration platforms that enhance products, experiences and access across multiple providers.
- Solution Provider: creating, tailoring, and delivering end-to-end solutions for vertical use cases or segments, such as SME. Bundle multiple solutions to create end-to-end user centric solutions, cross-vertical or vertical-specific.
- Solution Marketplaces: marketplaces that aggregate complementary solutions and capabilities.
“TM Forum asked me to contribute an ‘outside-in’ perspective on the challenges and opportunities facing the global telecoms industry. After dozens of conversations with CSP leaders around the world, my co-authors and I have revealed an industry facing both tremendous challenges and incredible opportunities,” said Sangeet Paul Choudary, Founder, Platformation Labs and co-author of the TM Forum CEO Playbook. “Facing these challenges head-on and successfully selecting and implementing the strategic options we outline is critical to the future of the sector. They will put CSPs on a path to deliver asymmetric upsides for their businesses, their shareholders and their customers.”
“The future of our industry hinges not only on the technologies we’re renowned for, but equivalently on the strategies we choose, the operating models we implement, and the evolution of our skillsets and mindsets,” said Anthony Rodrigo, CIO Axiata Group and key contributor to the TM Forum CEO Playbook. “While the adoption of open architectures, the integration of Open APIs, and close collaboration with global hyper-scalers are indispensable for success. Additionally, it is equally vital that our organizations undergo modernization, removing many of the barriers we have identified. I hope that our Playbook will catalyze debate and action in CSP boardrooms around the world and, ultimately, reignite telecoms growth.”
Sangeet Paul Choudary, Manish Vyas, President, Communications, Media and Entertainment Business, and CEO, Network Services, Tech Mahindra (CEO Playbook sponsor), Nik Willetts, and Dean Ramsay, Principal Analyst, TM Forum (and co-author) will discuss the Playbook on stage at DTW23 – Ignite on September 20 – full details here.
The TM Forum CEO Playbook is available for download here.
About TM Forum
TM Forum is a global alliance of telco and tech companies, leading the industry in defining the building blocks for new operating models, impactful new partnerships, and advanced software platforms.
TM Forum helps its members unlock the value of data to create nearly endless opportunities for players across the communications ecosystem. At DTW23 – Ignite, Accelerate and Collaboration events, TM Forum provides a platform for industry change-makers to share groundbreaking innovation, market developments, product launches and business transformation journeys.
We are the only industry body to count the world’s top 10 CSPs and all the key hyperscalers as active, strategic members. With over 800 members, we are on a mission to reinvent the telco industry as a vibrant part of the digital landscape – and a driving force in shaping its future. To find out more, visit: tmforum.org
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