Telcos need to go full digital, eye new revenue streams

Telecom companies will look to transform from ‘digital-first’ to ‘digital-throughout’and build capabilities for new revenue streams emerging out of COVID-19 crisis, a new study said.

According to consulting firm EY, telcos will leverage AI and automation programs, transformed digital customer experience, and building capabilities for new value propositions.

EY has laid out an eight pillar program including digital adoption, SME solutions, cyber security and diversify supply chain to emerge as a winner out of the COVID-led disruption.

“Opportunities to position customized solution portfolio for SMEs including advanced connectivity and cloud services, strengthening platform play through vertical partnerships, and enhanced B2C proposition exhibit potential,” the study said.

“Data usage has increased nearly 25%-30% in India, setting the stage for transforming the lives of 1.3 billion Indians,” said Prashant Singhal, Emerging Markets TMT Leader, EY,

“Given, the sector has been in red for long and exposed to high debt and levies; considerations toward creating an enabling environment for the sector assumes significant importance,” he added.

EY suggests telcos need to deploy cognitive chatbots and virtual call centre; promote recharges and payments on USSD for feature phone users.

Tailored solutions for SMEs (VPN bandwidth, collaboration and productivity tools, security); special tariff plans for consumers working from home, advanced network (e.g., SD-WAN) and cloud services, could open up new revenue streams for telcos

Telcos must also develop contingency plans (e.g., alternative vendor selection, re-prioritization of network build), diversify supplier base, increase localisation efforts to avoid future disruption

For emerging cyber security challenges, companies must review and upgrade VPN licenses, implement Multi-factor Authentication, increase endpoint monitoring, focus on privacy and trust-by design and build or access third party Security Operations Center.

“With the right mix of accelerator and support from Government, telcos can reverse the curve and normalize performance to a pre-COVID EBITDA run rate. The right thrust to the sector will help in shaping the future – for a digital India – empowering us to remain competitive on the global stage.”, added Singhal.

—Business Journal

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