CONSULTING: How do you define the telecommunications –
or ‘communications’ — industry? What types of companies
does your company/practice serve?
�� AHMED: Simply put, the communications industry is the
convergence of networks and devices to transmit content
(audio, video or digital information) over a distance. But
today’s communications industry has come a long way
from this basic premise. Now, communication service
providers (CSPs) looking to reimagine themselves in a
technology-driven world are striving to become digital
businesses. A digital business connects people and
things to the Internet, using technology as a competitive
advantage in its internal and external operations. The
growth of digital businesses is resulting in a tremendous
amount of disruption for CSPs.
CONSULTING: What are the sources of this disruption?
�� AHMED: We are seeing alternative communication
service providers emerge. For example, some cable
companies are offering Wi-Fi -based voice and data
services and non-traditional communications companies
will be offering Wi-Fi-based mobile virtual network
operator services. Other mobile communications firms
are using both Wi-Fi and cellular networks to provide low-cost communications services. Then on the wired side
those same non-traditional communications companies
are disrupting the broadband markets. In the near
future, we will also see ”wholesale” wireless service
providers emerge, especially as demand for Internet of
Things (Io T) connectivity rises.
CONSULTING: How is your practice helping clients amid
�� AHMED: Accenture’s communications industry
practice serves leading CSPs in this increasingly-evolving
and dynamic competitive environment. Accenture helps
communications industry clients face the challenges to
connect with the digital consumer, increase revenues,
develop and launch innovative products and services
quickly and optimize network performance while reducing
costs. The combination of our consulting, technology and
outsourcing experience, paired with our deep industry
knowledge, helps us verify that we bring the right solutions
and resources to enable our clients to unlock profitable
growth, improve operations and achieve high performance.
CONSULTING: How has the industry evolved?
�� AHMED: The communications industry has seen
new, converged competitors enter the value chain. As a
result, CSPs are now facing the challenges of connecting
with the digital consumer, driving revenue and quickly
developing innovative products in order to grow revenues.
Subscriber penetration is close to 100 percent in many
developed markets. Price wars abound, and over-the-top
(OTT) services eat away at traditional carrier revenues.
Furthermore, new technologies such as Wi-Fi and
unlicensed LTE is compounding competitive pressures,
combined with regulatory changes on the horizon—all of
which is stressing the ecosystem
CONSULTING: What are other notable challenges?
�� AHMED: The communications industry is facing
challenges with mobile data revenue, competitive
pricing, and escalating costs. In many markets, mobile
data revenue has proven insufficient to make up for the
decline of legacy services such as voice and SMS, which
are being rapidly supplanted by OTT applications that
can generate 50 percent to 90 percent less revenue
for CSPs. Saturation is increasing competitive pricing
pressure, even in many growth markets. Fixed-line
prospects may be similarly constrained by cord cutters
and shavers, especially for services facing increased
OTT competition, such as voice and video. Finally,
while revenue growth remains challenged, mobile data
consumption is expected to grow, accelerating demand
for network investments. The network investments
needed to keep pace with demand could top $2 trillion
over the next decade, according to the GSMA. While new
technologies such as cloud and digital offer some cost
savings, [current network investments] are insufficient
to cope with the pace and magnitude of escalating
costs. Everything I’ve mentioned—cost pressures, price
wars, increased competition caused by OTT, and new
regulations—will continue, and even escalate.