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How To Stay Competitive In A Disruptive Telecom Industry

McKinsey’s calculations forecast that digitalization could act as an opportunity for telecom operators to increase profits by as much as 35%.

In this article, find out how telecoms can stay competitive and increase revenue with digital transformation.

Digitization vs. digitalization vs. digital transformation

Digitization, digitalization, and digital transformation are terms causing confusion on a worldwide scale, so let’s clarify their meanings:


Forbes describes digitization as a technical term: taking analog information and encoding it into zeroes and ones so that computers can store, process, and transmit information.

Gartner clarifies it as, “the process of changing from analog to digital form”.

Plainly put, digitization means to convert handwritten or typed text into digital form.


Digitalization is the process of moving something to a digital format; this could relate to anything, from business, or even social interactions. For example, business processes are adapted for the cloud, while social interactions are taken online to social media. LPs have been digitalized with DVD.

Information, processes, roles, meetings, and operations are just some examples of business areas that can be digitized.

Digital transformation

Digital transformation refers to the integration of digital technology into business, changing how organizations operate and deliver value to their customers. Not stopping there though, digital transformation also means change as far as organizational culture goes, and continually challenging the status quo to maintain innovation.

In summary: we digitize information, we digitalize processes and roles in operations and we digitally transform the business and its strategy. Digitization and digitalization are actually about technology, but digital transformation is all about the customer and improving the customer experience


Top challenges in the telecommunication industry

1: Lines between telecom and technology are blurring

Because the lines between telecoms and technology are blurring, telcos need to freshen up their levels of ICT innovation for digital transformation by developing strong cross-functional interfaces and employing tools for organizational flexibility.

2: Increased financial overhead

With more subscribers and new products, bundles, and customized solutions, support services are becoming more complex, requiring an increase in resources and tools, all of which are costly.

3: Upgrading infrastructures & security

To provide high-quality, reliable, and affordable data and voice services, telecoms will find it necessary to upgrade their IT and connectivity infrastructure. In addition, network security is a priority due to new threats.

4: IoT impact

Internet of Things (IoT) means a generation of a huge amount of new data to be handled by networks.

telecommunication software all interlinking

1: Cross-industry alliances

To keep at the forefront, telecoms are forming alliances with other industries

2: Keeping and finding top talent

Top talent doesn’t find working for telecoms challenging enough, so it’s hard to keep and attract new top talent. In addition, when costs need to be cut, telcos often resort to laying off staff, compounding the problem of keeping and finding top talent. Job rotation policies may become essential.

3: Technologies for improved customer experiences

Telecommunications companies have begun using technologies to enhance the customer experience. ITNewsAfrica reported that by 2020, 80% of telcos will make use of technologies like VR, chatbots, and mobile apps in customer interaction processes.

4: Digitalized customer support

Because modern consumers now interact with companies directly via social media and buy from online-birthed businesses like Amazon, the business model of the telecom has changed and is adapting to these trends because consumers expect speed and convenience at the very least.

How telecoms can stay competitive

The three most powerful ways telecoms can remain competitive with digital transformations is by:

  1. Utilizing analytics
  2. Renewing core processes
  3. Forming alliances and developing multiservices
How telecoms can stay competitive

1: Utilize analytics to drive changes & enhancements

Analytics and data help telcos make the best decisions by:

  • Providing deep and insightful information to identify loyal customers, determine the highest value customers, source potential new customers, identify the needs of customers in order to create new products, offerings and bundles, as well as to offer customized products.
  • Increasing customer retention by up to 15% with churn prediction insights that result in implementing creative solutions to circumvent customers who are most likely to leave.
  • Exploring competitor insights that show trends that drive service improvements.
  • Optimizing network performance and capacity.
  • Optimizing security.

This all means increased revenue because data enables telcos to:

  • Develop new business areas.
  • Optimize business.
  • Retain the customers
  • Answers the questions that you’ve been asking about your customer’s behavior, trends and usage patterns
  • CDRlive moves you from just passively tracking piles of meaningless data, to proactively shaping strategy in order to future-proof your business and grow your revenue
  • Provides detailed KPI tracking and measurement through:
    • Descriptive Analytics – What happened?
    • Diagnostic Analytics – Why did it happen?
    • Applied Analytics – What might happen?

2: Reset core processes

According to McKinsey, 76% of telco customers prefer a completely digital journey. It’s got to be easy to do business with telecoms; people don’t want to have to make copies of things, drive somewhere, call a department and so on. Speed and intelligent processes are vital

Currently, however, telcos are not known for delivering superior service and this will need to change fast.

The aim must be to create outstanding customer journeys in every interaction and across every channel, and to make them as digital as possible, transforming every customer touchpoint in:

  • Omnichannel sales
  • Support services
  • Digital processes
  • Analytics

Get in touch with the demands and desires of customers and give them what they want. Analytics is a powerful way of getting real data to enable the most significant decisions.

3: Form alliances & develop multiservices

Next generation ICT cloud services plus SD-WAN, security, and IP-based unified communications services are essential offerings in the future.

Leading telecom companies use a dedicated customer expert to champion face-to-face, online, and indirect channels. In addition, the expert has the responsibility of upselling current customers to new products.

Forming alliances with other industries and developing multiservices in order to provide even more value to customers while adding additional revenue streams will keep telecoms competitive.

In summary, in order to stay competitive in the future, telecom companies will need top talent to drive changes that are based on analytics and data.

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