The telecom industry in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is on the verge of a new wave of M&A. Telecom companies are likely to pursue regional, or even global, targets within the growing information and communications technologies (ICT) sector.
Communication and technology
The following articles were written by Strategy& partners and other senior professionals on key topics in the communications and technology sector.
GCC telecom operators are well positioned to provide Long-Term Evolution (LTE) mission critical networks and related services for government emergency services.
Reconsidering military ICT security: A risk-based approach to modernization and information superiority for GCC armed forces
Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)1 armed forces face an information security conundrum. On the one hand, they need to develop “information superiority” — the ability to meet the information requirements of supported forces with greater timeliness, relevance, accuracy, and comprehensiveness than an adversary.
Telecom operators are uniquely positioned for the commercial unmanned aerial vehicles (drone) market because of their capabilities in connectivity, cloud, big data, and analytics. Telecom operators could offer drone-powered solutions by building partnerships in areas related to drone procurement, data processing, and data delivery, and by leveraging internal capabilities across the value chain.
Executives in the GCC are excited by digital. They recognize its benefits, such as stronger customer orientation and increased efficiency — vital in an era of budget constraints.
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Understanding digital content and services ecosystems: The role of content and services in boosting Internet adoption
The government, local content providers, telecom operators, and global platform providers can play an important role in jump-starting digital content ecosystems by investing in relevant, local content to help build a user base large enough to reach the critical mass point. More and better local content from new companies will help to bring millions of unconnected people online and further engage those already connected.
Turkey can accelerate the reach of national broadband with six policy measures: evolve and boost commercialization channels; reduce the cost of ownership for end users; scale up relevant local applications and content; promote wholesale and infrastructure sharing services that make commercial sense; leverage the Universal Service Fund to support broadband deployment in pre-defined low-density areas; drive municipality-led demand aggregation and incentives.
Telecom companies face increased competition and rising network costs, which are reducing their gross earnings. Instead of responding with cost-cutting, they should undertake a comprehensive product profitability and simplification exercise. At that point they can restructure market-facing and back-end operations and infrastructure, which will lay the foundations for improved profitability.
Rethinking ICT regulation: Regulators’ essential role in capturing the full potential of the ICT sector
The digital revolution is questioning existing regulatory frameworks and forcing regulators to respond. Regulators have to grapple with these disruptive forces in a manner that will foster both innovation and fairness. The three key areas for regulators to look at, and that require a focus on digitization, are market efficiency, scarcity management, and safeguarding customer welfare.
Creeping commoditization is an overlooked challenge facing the global mobile communications industry. Operators must work against commoditization at all times to elevate themselves above the competition. Our research indicates that over half of mobile markets worldwide are either already commoditized, or in imminent danger of becoming so.
Companies need to understand where they stand in terms of big data maturity so that they can progress and identify the required initiatives. This involves examining their environment readiness, the extent of legal and regulatory frameworks, and ICT infrastructure; their internal capabilities; and the many methods for using big data.
Telecom companies seeking growth in emerging markets should abandon the outdated view of customers as large, indistinct, and coherent segments. They should tailor offerings to specific customer needs by employing analytical marketing, which mines the Big Data they already possess to respond continually to how individuals and market micro-segments behave.
Mobile e-government applications can help governments deliver e-services more efficiently than kiosks or web portals. Successful apps will be well-designed and focused on the main aim of helping constituents engage directly and frequently with the government. Loyalty programs, gamification, and social media will stimulate more engagement with mobile e-government apps.
Telecom companies can integrate their business support systems applications (previously managed by the IT department) with operations support systems applications (previously handled by the network department), thereby boosting the operational efficiency and better synergizing the elements of the technology backbone.
Middle East newsprint publishers need to position themselves to grow in adjacent businesses if they are to overcome the digital disruption that has affected media and advertising markets elsewhere. They should stress on their strengths in local news and advertising.
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