Over the past decade, the telecommunications industry has undergone tremendous transformation, driven primarily by deregulation, the increased demands of a "networked economy," the emergence of innovative services and business models that fueled competition, and, more recently, the industry downturn.

An illustrative example of this is the competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC) market, which at its peak numbered 40 companies but saw consolidation to fewer than 20 players. Another example is the increased vertical integration in the wireline sector (e.g., Verizon formed from NYNEX, Bell Atlantic, and GTE) as a means to improve competitive positioning, gain scale and scope efficiencies, and maximize customer value. As in the wireline sector, speculation about further consolidation of the U.S. wireless industry abounds. With slowing subscriber growth and strong downward pressure on margins, mergers are perceived as a means of rationalizing the number of players in the fragmented and highly competitive landscape.

Currently, the telecommunications industry is facing two major challenges. As a sector that has suffered in recent years, telecommunications players are looking to return to profitable growth by focusing on their core business, slashing capital expenditures, and reducing operational costs. At the same time, to maintain their ability to successfully compete, operators need to lay the foundation for the next generation of networks and services by investing in new technologies and services, such as 3G, broadband, applications, content delivery, and hosting.

Telecommunications companies must address the many strategic and operational issues underlying these challenges. These pressing concerns include questions related to market entry and exit, vertical versus horizontal services focus, technology platforms, organic growth versus acquisitions and partnerships, and increased competition from nontraditional sectors like cable.

As one of the leading global management consulting firms to the telecommunications industry, PwC’s strategy consulting team Strategy& has helped senior executives across every major industry segment deal with critical strategic and operational issues during times of growth and contraction. Our experience covers the full range of business issues facing wireline and wireless carriers, transport and content service providers, telecommunications equipment manufacturers, and professional services firms. Areas of focus include business strategy, sales and marketing, innovation, organization and change management, and operations.

Telecommunications and networks

Strategy&'s end-to-end telecommunications solutions include expertise in strategy and planning, system design, engineering, acquisition, implementation, and operations support for voice, data, wireless, and video communications. We've helped a broad range of clients plan and manage telecommunications strategies with international applications. We provide extensive telecommunications services, ranging from planning to technical training.

Areas of expertise include:

  • Telecommunications planning
  • Analytical support
  • Network modeling and design
  • Network optimization
  • Systems engineering
  • Cost analysis
  • Acquisition
  • Network integration and implementation
  • Operations and maintenance
  • LAN/WAN/wireless design and engineering
  • Security and reliability assurance
  • Technology insertion