Telecommunications

We help clients transform their businesses in the digital age, tapping into new markets and technologies for growth.

A strategic look at the backbone of the digital economy

As carriers’ networks increasingly support today’s connected life, telecoms executives are facing a wide range of challenges and opportunities. While data traffic is reaching new heights, pricing for connectivity isn’t: The forces of commoditization are real. Carriers are feeling the “cash squeeze” of continued demands to upgrade their networks versus stagnating revenues. Leaders are tasked with having to reinvent their businesses, finding new ways to differentiate and monetize their strategic assets, all while radically reducing spend levels and adapting their organizations to the demands of the digital age. In addition, the advent of next-generation networks and other new technologies present opportunities to invest and grow, or fail, which calls for analytical rigor and clarity in strategy in a highly dynamic environment.

At PwC’s Strategy&, we provide fresh perspectives to help our clients — including the world’s top wireline, wireless, cable, satellite, and alternative carriers — manage costs strategically and differentiate their businesses for sustainable growth.

Commoditization in wireless telecoms

How we can help you

Capabilities-Driven Strategy + Growth

Carriers are faced with an ever-growing range of options to grow the core business, explore adjacent verticals, expand into new geographies, or reconfigure the value chain and capability set. This creates the challenge of placing too many bets, potentially ending up with an incoherent strategy and growth portfolio. At Strategy&, we help leaders be clear about their strategic intent and how they are going to create value for their customers. We then apply our capabilities-driven strategy approach to ensure that the product and service portfolio aligns to, and is reinforced by, a system of differentiated capabilities — the things a company does better than anybody else.

Service offerings include:

  • Corporate and business unit strategy
  • Strategic planning, scenario analysis, and wargaming
  • New product and service diversification
  • Innovation strategy
  • Market entry and international expansion

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Fit for Growth transformation

As the telecoms industry matures, taking a strategic look at cost and investments is more important than ever. Rather than applying traditional cost-cutting recipes, we bring a rigorous methodology that is grounded in company strategy. At Strategy&, we provide clarity on investment priorities and the capabilities that underpin sustainable differentiation, systematically realign spend levels around differentiating versus table-stakes capabilities, and design an operating model and culture evolution plan to create structures and behaviors that ensure companies become truly Fit for Growth*.

Service offerings include:

  • Strategic cost reduction
  • Differentiated capability system design
  • Operating model and organization design
  • Transformation for functional excellence in product, marketing, sales, care, technology, G&A
  • Shared services, footprint, and outsourcing strategy
  • Culture and behavior change

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*Fit for Growth is a registered service mark of PwC Strategy& LLC in the United States.

Digital strategy

Communications service providers run the connectivity backbone to the digital economy and lifestyles. Yet, many carriers are looking at untapped opportunities when it comes to embracing digital to make their own operations more efficient, adapting the ways they interact with customers to the new realities of digital life on the web, through apps, and in digitally enabled retail and service situations. At Strategy&, we take an interdisciplinary approach to digital transformation and combine strategy with human-centered design thinking and technology, while also helping our clients think through the impact of digital on people, organizations, and culture.

Service offerings include:

  • Digital maturity and capability assessments
  • Digital services and business model innovation
  • Digital experience design
  • Digital operating model design
  • Digital-enabled cost transformation
  • Digital culture and talent evolution
  • Digital transformation

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Deals strategy

For decades, the telecoms landscape has been shaped and re-shaped through mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures. At Strategy&, we help executives clarify the objectives behind their strategy; identify viable targets, buyers, or partners; and ensure diligence in understanding the strategic, commercial, financial, technological, and regulatory aspects of a deal. We bring the rigor, discipline, strategic insight, and deep functional expertise it takes to deliver value — finding synergies; transitioning customers, products, and services; and integrating (or separating) organizations, people, and cultures.

Service offerings include:

  • Portfolio strategy and valuation
  • Strategic target, partner, and buyer identification and assessment
  • Strategic, commercial, and operating model due diligence (buy and sell side)
  • Deal value realization for M&A, divestitures, joint ventures, and strategic partnerships

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Technology strategy

For communications service providers, technology IS the business – which makes technology and business strategy inseparable. At Strategy&, we connect broader strategic business objectives with strategic technology choices. On the demand side, this can be about strategies for the next generation of networks, services, platforms, and applications for consumers and business customers – or the next level of technology-enabled efficiency, agility and insight for carriers’ own operations. On the supply side, this is often about significant technology bets and the capital commitments and supplier relationships those entail.

Service offerings include:

  • New technology assessments and business cases
  • Investment strategies and capital planning for next-generation networks and technologies
  • Strategic technology deployment and adoption program management
  • Cloud, XaaS, and SDN/NFV service rationalization and transformation
  • Technology capability building for the age of Agile, Cloud, and DevOps
  • Technology operating model transformation
  • Strategic sourcing and technology supplier management capability building

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Regulatory strategy

In the world of telecommunications, regulatory actions can make or break the success of products, services, business models, and even entire companies. From rulemaking to spectrum auctions, and deals to compliance, few industries have as pervasive a regulatory influence as telecoms. At Strategy& we view regulatory strategy not just as an afterthought or a reaction, but as a powerful lever to be integrated into strategy through execution. We work with our clients to assess regulatory opportunities and challenges, shape powerful responses, and implement regulatory programs that enable sustainable growth and profitability.

Our regulatory strategy services include:

  • Regulatory policy analysis and impact assessment
  • Regulatory policy strategy and position development, framework, and governance design
  • Regulatory program mobilization and delivery
  • Strategic public policy assessments
  • Spectrum regulation and auction advisory
  • Regulatory program contracting and review

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Featured research

Insights

Case studies

How we work with our clients

  • Strategic scenario planning
    and wargaming
  • Internet of Things (IoT) regulatory strategy
    and position development
  • Global analytics strategy and
    operating model for a telecoms major
  • OTT comms services strategy
    for a telco group
  • Macro simplification program
    to reduce inefficiencies at a telco

Strategic scenario planning and wargaming

A leading U.S. carrier wanted to prepare for long-term competitive threats in the converging connectivity ecosystem. Strategy& helped the client's corporate strategists develop a comprehensive model of the U.S. wireless, wireline, and video subscription market. We then identified possible competitive actions and disruptive events; quantified their impact on value pools, growth, market shares, and pricing levels; and compiled thematic scenarios to describe plausible futures for the industry. Finally, we designed and moderated a set of wargame offsites that allowed the senior executive team to step into competitor's shoes to disrupt the market. We simulated strategies to pre-empt or respond to competitive threats, driving a deeper understanding of industry challenges, as well as providing clarity around specific needs to fortify and expand the client's strategy.

Internet of Things (IoT) regulatory strategy and position development

Internet of Things (IoT) regulatory strategy and position development

An emerging North American provider of IoT communications services wanted to develop and communicate its regulatory strategy in response to an opportunity to help shape U.S. government policy on IoT. Strategy& worked with the client's leadership team to rapidly identify their strategic priorities, translate them into regulatory imperatives, and develop supporting analyses to support the company’s position. The results were then integrated into a filing to highlight the service provider’s unique technology assets and vision, including network capabilities that enable the deployment of 'mission-critical' applications. The filing also publicly unveiled the company’s new strategy to the industry, highlighting its unique technology vision for IoT. It was the most-cited private company input in the government’s resulting policy, affirming the effectiveness of the company’s strategy.

Global analytics strategy and operating model for a telecoms major

Global analytics strategy and operating model for a telecoms major

A top-10 telecoms company needed a global analytics solution and required an analytics operating-model strategy. We used Strategy&’s strategy-through-execution framework to move from gap analysis to pilots. We conducted as-is and gap analyses of the client’s data, technology, people, skills, culture, and processes. We also created an analytics target operating model (TOM) and a new organizational structure, governance model, and change-management plan. Finally, we rolled out the analytics TOM pilot in two countries as well as a post-pilot scale-up strategy. Our work resulted in $1bn of incremental revenue identified over the next 4 years and a 52% cost savings identified for the same period. In addition, we facilitated a 2X increase in speed of product innovation.

OTT comms services strategy for a telco group

OTT comms services strategy for a telco group

The strategy team of a telco group needed help to develop an OTT vision to define the future of the telco in the OTT landscape and develop strategic options. The client had already launched its own communication app, developed an OTT partnership and experimented with other OTT services – results were limited. Strategy& analyzed the OTT ecosystem (services, business model, threats) and studied telecom operators’ initiatives to face OTTs. We derived strategic themes to be pursued by the client, and also evaluated the revenue at risk due to the OTT threat. We identified 10 strategic themes across the B2C and B2B businesses and created a detailed action plan by strategic theme in the comms services space. On the back of our work, a new communication hub was defined and is under development and testing.

Macro simplification programme to reduce inefficiencies at a telco

Macro simplification program to reduce inefficiencies at a telco

A telco suffering from inefficiencies due to the high complexity of its offerings had made several unsuccessful attempts at simplification. Strategy& supported the client with reducing / rationalizing its current commercial offer. We helped the client concentrate its customer base, and also focused on improving the client’s processes through the elimination of legacy systems and decommissioning of legacy platforms and associated networks. The impact on both product portfolio and systems and networks was compelling: 58% of products were eliminated and 82% of monthly promotions were killed. In addition, 78 of 200 services on obsolete platforms were killed and 3 network platforms were shut down. Also, EBITDA increased by >100M.

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