Skin in the game

How telecom operators can win with gaming

Video games are a global cultural force. They compete for individuals’ leisure time with other entertainment activities like movies, books, and the arts. It is estimated that there are now 2.5 billion gamers worldwide. Video gaming in 2020 is a US$129 billion-a-year business.

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Embarking on the quest

The size of the gaming opportunity means that it is now game on for telecom operators. They can tap into this rapidly growing market and diversify their business using their existing capabilities. This is a particularly attractive proposition for operators in the GCC region, where more than half the population is under 25 years of age.

There are numerous ways to play and as many to win. Telecom operators have the choice of four different ways to play along the value chain for core activities, plus an additional way to play that focuses on launching eSports entities.

Telecom operators have five ways to play

The timing of this opportunity could not be better. Telecom operators’ core revenue streams are flagging and their markets are saturated. At the same time, they have to keep investing in infrastructure to cope with the tremendous increase in mobile data consumption. Making matters worse is disruption from over-the-top players and competitive pricing, which have contributed to the decline in overall revenue and ARPU.

“The challenges confronting telecom operators are similar to those that experienced gamers face. Stay on the same path, and eventually it is game over. Make a rash decision, a leap into the unknown, and the result could be just as bad. There is an alternative, however. A wily gamer knows when to explore a new path. Video gaming represents precisely that alternative approach for telecom operators.”

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Hicham Fadel

Partner, Strategy& Middle East

Jad El Mir

Principal, Strategy& Middle East

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