April 14, 2015

The ‘Agile Operator’

New Research: 5 Key Ways to Meet the Agility Challenge

We’ve just published a new research paper ‘The ‘Agile Operator’: 5 Key Ways to Meet the Agility Challenge’. The report asks: What is ‘agility’, and what makes it meaningful to operators? We explored the concept and characteristics of ‘operator agility’ through 29 interviews with telco senior executives, found three main barriers and five key opportunity areas, and identified some surprising and important conclusions about both what it means and the key steps needed to achieve it.

The report is part of the Executive Briefing Service and you can read an excerpt of the report here. For more on any of our services, please email contact@telco2.net or call +44 207 247 5003.

Extract chart from the report:


Agility Figure 3.png


Request for Input: The Agility Challenge - Find out how agile you are

STL Partners are also initiating the Telco 2.0 Agility Challenge, a survey which enables operators to gauge how agile they are. It takes about 10 minutes and we think that just completing it gives a good sense of the key areas of focus - though we’re also open to feedback on how to improve it (email contact@stlpartners.com).

Operators are invited to self-score across the 5 domains of agility highlighted above. Scores will remain confidential and operators will receive an anonymised benchmark of how they compare against the other Challenge participants.

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April 13, 2015

Chinese Forks, Indian OTT, 2Gbps cable, HP out of public cloud: Telco 2.0 News Review

[Ed: In case you haven’t seen it yet we’ve just published a new report on Google’s MVNO: What’s Behind it and What are the Implications? as part of our Executive Briefing Service.]

Apple pre-orders; 80% of Chinese users play with ROMs; Google pools 4G patents

Apple may have as many as a million pre-orders for watches in the US, after they went on sale on Friday. Two-thirds were the cheaper ones below $349. Horace makes the interesting point that iPhone sales might be the easiest way to quantify its results, as you can’t really use one without having an iPhone, but that still won’t be very easy as you’d need to disaggregate sales to existing users from platform net gains. Larry Dignan points out that once you’ve added at least one extra-cost option to the watch, you’re spending as much as you would on a new MacBook, which would probably be much better value.

Very shiny. Here’s another interesting statistic. A survey of Chinese Internet users, carried out by Tencent, shows 80% claimed to have installed an unofficial Android ROM at least once. Not only does this make you wonder about their sampling methodology, if it’s even close to the truth it suggests Android in China has wandered much further from Google having anything like “control” over the OS than we thought (read more about the problem and how Google might fix it in our new Google Executive Briefing). It also suggests a lot of software creativity going on in the interstices of the Chinese mobile market. The drivers were basically either curiosity - trying new stuff and getting new features quicker - or dissatisfaction - getting rid of carrier- or vendor-imposed cruft, fixing bugs, and trying to improve battery life.

mobile-smartphone-developer_21.jpg

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April 9, 2015

Consistency Counts: Why 3UK Did So Well in OFCOM’s Tests and EE is Not Impressed

In this week’s news, we noted the row between EE and OFCOM over the regulator’s recent Mobile Broadband Performance Report, an exercise to benchmark the data rates, latencies, and Web page load times on the UK MNOs’ 3G and 4G networks. EE doesn’t agree with OFCOM’s results, and is angry enough that it threatened legal action. But what are lawyers doing in this conversation? This ought to be a technical problem that we can solve with data!

The results are interesting. EE is the fastest operator, by a distance, on the straightforward large-file speed tests, and 3UK is the slowest. Which may seem surprising if you’ve read this Telco 2.0 Executive Briefing. However, 3UK won by an impressive margin on the Web page test (Figure 22 below) and by a lesser margin on the ping test. EE did quite poorly on the Web page test.

Screenshot from 2015-04-09 14:39:36.png

But what really got EE’s goat was this chart:

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Google’s MVNO: What’s Behind It And What Are The Implications?


How will getting into the MVNO business help Google shore up its business model? In our latest research ‘Google’s MVNO: What’s Behind it and What are the Implications?’, we examine Google’s objectives, how it could price the service, and the implications for telcos and other players.

One key driver is that despite ongoing growth in its core business, Google’s margins are starting come under increasing pressure as the following chart shows. The key to understanding why Google wants to become a mobile operator of sorts lies in how it thinks that action will improve its strategic position and reduce this downward pressure. There’s more background over on our research portal.

google mvno fig 1.png

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April 8, 2015

How to grow Enterprise / B2B2C Revenues by 50%?

Selling to and through enterprise and business customers is one of the key strategic opportunity areas for telcos, with growth potential of 50% over the next 5 years. The opportunity is much wider than pure communications - and the growth will be strongest in the more advanced services.

Whereas most telecoms operators have traditionally focused on the core communications component which is relatively static in terms of total value, the ICT Market is three to four times larger, and so-called ‘B2B2C’ (Business to Business to Consumer services e.g. Digital Advertising, Mobile Payments and Multi-factor authentication) will grow at 10%-50% to 2020 depending on sector (see forecast below for Western Europe).

Enterprise ICT forecasts in Europe April 2015.png
It’s not easy to achieve success in any part of the market and telcos worldwide have taken very different approaches, some with more success than others.

We’ll be exploring market forecasts, leading case studies, common features among the challenges and the successes, and expanding on our framework for strategic success in this area at a discussion and dinner in London for senior telco execs on the evening of Thursday 23rd April.

B2B2C and Ent ICT Framework April 2015.png
The focus for this discussion will be Western European markets. We already have commitment from senior executives from several operators, and we can accommodate about five more people. So if you’d like to know more please email Senior Consultant Albane Coeurquetin ASAP.

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April 7, 2015

Telco 2.0 News Review: IoT, UK Upheaval, GigaCable, and More

[Ed: Also, we’ve just published a new report on Digital Services: What is Your Digital Business Worth? as part of our Executive Briefing Service.]

IBM opens $3bn IoT unit; GM hopes to make $350m from 4G; AT&T winning the connected car

IBM is opening a new business unit dedicated to the Internet-of-Things and investing at least $3bn in the project. This is going to roll up other projects like their heavily hyped Smarter Cities and Smarter Planet initiatives, create a new IoT space within their Bluemix developer platform, and not least, train 2,000 of their consultants on their IoT product lineup. They’re also developing a relationship with Freescale and ARM for IoT device hardware.

General Motors CFO, Chuck Stevens, reckons that the company will earn an additional $350m in profits from the deployment of 4G in its connected-car products between now and 2018. More than 30 of the 2015 models have it and the whole 2016 model year will.

Continue reading "Telco 2.0 News Review: IoT, UK Upheaval, GigaCable, and More" »

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April 1, 2015

Presentation & Dinner in London, 23 April: Beyond Enterprise Communications



Beyond Enterprise Communications, into Enterprise ICT & B2B2C Enablement


STL Partners will be presenting 3 strategic options for operators in the Enterprise Communications market and then hold discussion over dinner in London on Thursday April 23rd.


The objective will be to explore how operators can grow business customer revenues by over 50% in the next 5 years by improving core communications services and developing new Enterprise ICT and B2B platform services.


Oracle, a leader in enterprise ICT, will also be joining us will also be joining us and present real cases studies of best-practice enterprise ICT solutions from leading operators.


For more information on this please contact Albane Coeurquetin.

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March 31, 2015

Digital Services: What is Your Digital Business Worth?


We’ve just published a new research paper ‘Digital Services: What is Your Digital Business Worth?’. In the report we outline our ‘proxy model’ for valuing Digital Services Businesses, based on current best practice, which has significant advantages over traditional approaches. The report also provides a worked example of a telco-owned digital business in Asia that is already worth $1bn, and includes an analysis of approaches being taken by some leading telcos today.

The report is part of the Executive Briefing Service and Telco 2.0 Transformation Stream, and you can read an excerpt of the report here. For more on any of our services, please email contact@telco2.net or call +44 207 247 5003.

Extract chart from the report:

Valuation 2 Figure 1.PNG

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March 30, 2015

India, Intel/Altera, OpenNFV, Title II, BT 4G, LoRa - Telco 2.0 News Review

[Ed: Also, we’ve just published a new report on Facebook: Telcos’ New Best Friend? as part of our new ‘Dealing with Disruption Stream’.]

Indian spectrum auction goes BOOM; Nokia runs VHA’s network from India; Softbank buys into Micromax

The Indian spectrum auction is done, and it was a record blowout in the end. Idea Cellular spent the most but arguably Bharti Airtel got the best deal, acquiring or renewing 111MHz of spectrum. A lot of that was 1800MHz, which means that Bharti is now in a position to use 2G/4G working to deploy 4G nationally. Overall, the bidding went up to $18bn, replicating the bidding war that broke out over the 3G spectrum.

Marten Pieters, Vodafone CEO in India, who is retiring soon, accused the government of taking too much money out of the industry. The FT points out that almost 75% of revenues are concentrated in the top 3 operators, although there are 8 MNOs, and argues that consolidation is likely. The Indian government reckons prices will only rise by a fraction of a US cent a minute.

Continue reading "India, Intel/Altera, OpenNFV, Title II, BT 4G, LoRa - Telco 2.0 News Review" »

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March 25, 2015

Facebook: Telcos’ New Best Friend?


Facebook needs telcos’ help to succeed in its huge ambitions, but can telcos find a way to work with Facebook to mutual benefit? We analyse this opportunity in depth in our latest research Facebook: Telcos’ New Best Friend?.

Facebook has changed substantially since we first analysed the company in 2011. In the new report, we explore the accuracy of our 2011 predictions regarding users, revenue and strategy, and renew our forward views. The chart below shows that we were slightly under on volume forecasts back in 2011, but we’re feeling pretty smug about the revenue forecasts in the full report.

We also examine Facebook’s current aspirations and challenges and explain why, where and how operators should be working with Facebook to build value.

facebook march 2015 fig 3.png

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March 23, 2015

Telco 2.0 News Review: Bregulation, TV, 5G, Facebook F8

[Ed: Also, we’ve just published a new report on The Internet of Things: Impact on M2M, where it’s going, and what to do about it? as part of our new ‘Executive Briefing Service’.]

OFCOM VULA decision; fibre-to-the-cell key to UK mergers; “ultrafast” is slower than today’s cable

So, OFCOM has decided to regulate BT’s unbundling prices to ensure independent ISPs can make a margin between wholesale and retail pricing. In doing so, it’s decided to take the effects of BT Sport into account, both as an advantage for BT and also as an additional cost. However, having made the momentous decision, OFCOM also decided things are pretty much OK as it stands and there’s no reason to activate the ruling. Nicely done.

Elsewhere, the lobbyfest ahead of the OFCOM Strategic Review is beginning to crank up. The terms of reference are out (get them here) and they seem to include OTT services but count out content, although only tentatively.

At the same time, the Competition & Markets Authority has opened the parallel anti-trust review of the BT-EE deal with a request for comments. As well as the obvious retail services, the CMA has asserted a special interest in the market for mobile backhaul. It’s as if they read our BT/EE: Huge Regulatory Headache and Trigger for European Transformation Executive Briefing. Quote of note:

“When BT was giving us all the same sort of service without being in the game, that was OK,” said one rival executive, quoted by the FT. “But it will own the largest mobile group and will in effect be paying itself for access to its mobile backhaul.”

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March 17, 2015

The IoT: Impact on M2M, where it’s going, and what to do about it?


We’ve just published a new research paper ‘The Internet of Things: Impact on M2M, where it’s going, and what to do about it?’. The report contains a high-level analysis of the M2M market, including the strategies of Vodafone, AT&T and Telefonica, and discusses the impact that the Internet of Things and new entrants such as Google and others will have with new business models. What are the implications for operators, and where is it all leading?

The report is part of the Executive Briefing Service, and you can read an excerpt of the report here. For more on any of our services, please email contact@telco2.net or call +44 207 247 5003.

Extract chart from the report:

Digital IoT Convergence.PNG

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March 16, 2015

Telco 2.0 News Review: Small Cells, Regulation, Free, Cable, IoT

[Ed: Also, we’ve just published a new report on NFV: Great Promises, but How to Deliver? as part of our new ‘Cloud and Enterprise ICT’ Stream.]

VZW not daunted by AT&T 40k plan failure; “total” mobile data doubled in 2014; Super COW

Last week we learned that AT&T was backing out of its plan to deploy 40,000 small cells, after it proved unexpectedly difficult to get site access, backhaul, power, regulatory approval, and all that boring-but-important stuff sorted out, and Leap’s macro-network assets became available. This week, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo said that the carrier would be deploying small cells with fibre backhaul, especially into markets where they didn’t win any AWS-3 spectrum. “Markets where they didn’t get AWS” includes Chicago, so this is a big deal. We also know that VZW has tapped Vodafone-backed startup SpiderCloud for its enterprise deployments.

FierceWireless points out that this means a lot more fibre-to-the-cell, and notes that three regional carriers have recently started developing a speciality in it. Fairpoint has fibre to 1100 of 1700 base stations it serves, Cincinnati Bell seems to be specialising in serving a major carrier (that sounds like VZW) after exiting the mobile market, and Lumos is doing more.

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March 12, 2015

NFV: Great Promises, but How to Deliver?


NFV (Network Functions Virtualisation) potentially offers operators benefits of up to 80% network opex reduction and significant improvements in agility, and threatens a shake-up of the vendor landscape. We look at the challenges to making it happen, and what telcos and vendors need to do to succeed in our latest briefing ‘NFV: Great Promises, but How to Deliver?’, part of our Cloud and Enterprise ICT in-depth research stream.

Figure 1 - Intel: comparative hardware performance gains
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March 9, 2015

MWC Special 5G Issue: Telco 2.0 News Review

Net neutrality is here; Eurotelcos launch massive pushback at MWC; where is Andrus?; Indian spectrum auction

So, MWC. It was certainly busy, although news-wise it’s probably fair to say that this one was for the connoisseurs - fewer shiny gadgets and developer events, more network infrastructure and regulation. On that score, the whole event was under the sign of net neutrality, as Tom Wheeler’s FCC formally voted to introduce the iconic measure the week before, and Wheeler himself showed up in Barcelona to bring the gospel to the mobile industry. After all, one of the biggest changes that his new rules will bring is precisely that it covers mobile data.

Tom Wheeler, however, would point out that the new settlement is patterned in large part on the one that exists for mobile voice, as he said during his MWC keynote.

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