The corporate world at large is moving quickly to capture the benefits of digitization. Yet the telecommunications industry itself, while enabling its business customers to digitize their activities, has lagged in its efforts to move in the same direction. Struggling with outmoded IT systems, siloed organizational structures, and pre-digital corporate cultures, telecom operators have allowed faster competitors, notably the so-called over-the-top players, to gain the upper hand by offering better and wider-ranging services and more compelling customer experiences.
All is not lost — at least not yet. But if telecom operators are to catch up, they must first radically lower their total cost bases, simplify their product offerings, and devise better customer experiences. Then they must settle on their digital strategy and develop a much wider range of digital services for their customers, business and consumer alike. They will need to rethink the way they innovate to become much more agile and open to working with third parties. Finally, they need to engage more fully in the ongoing consolidation of their industry to generate scale, combine networks and infrastructures, and offer true fixed–mobile convergence, the basis of any effort to improve the customer experience and create the products and services their customers are now demanding.
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