If there’s one industry that has benefited from the growing popularity of digitization, it’s the telecommunications industry. Major and minor industry players are capitalizing on new technologies from The Internet of Things, machine learning and big data analytics in attempts to satisfy customers. But what happens if the ideas or opportunities run out?
It happens to all industries—introduction, growth and decline. The teleco industry is experiencing peak growth which is great. On the other hand, however, is the next stage which is market saturation. So, where do they go to achieve robust growth again? Industry predictions point toward emerging markets for the next round of viable growth.
Plenty of Room for Online Growth
The global economic turbulence, non-traditional competitors, more informed and budget-conscious consumers, rising commodity prices, and declining customer loyalty are all combining to squeeze margins for telecommunications companies around the world. For telecos seeking to tap into the rapid growth in emerging markets, the online channel is a compelling opportunity—even though it has its own challenges.
Existing business models are under siege as consumers shift their interactions online. Competitive pressure is eating into revenues and causing a spike in subscriber acquisition and retention costs (SARC). Legacy IT systems and traditional organizational structures are bottlenecks not enablers of the online channel. In this environment, telecos face challenges and important questions.
Smartphones and Data Services and Apps a Lucrative Revenue Stream
Smartphones are proliferating quickly in emerging markets especially in countries such as Brazil, Thailand, Indonesia and India. Demand for data services and applications is also climbing in emerging markets, particularly as speeds increase and younger, more educated users flood the market. After the full penetration of smartphone and data usage rise, there will be an opportunity to market to more lower-income and rural people whose access may have been limited in the past.
Mobile as Critical Growth Opportunity
There is still lots of room for teleco growth in many regions of the globe, especially for the mobile sector. The countries with the most growth potential include India, Brazil and China. Mobile data as well as mobile and fixed mobile broadband will generate the most revenue due to higher data usage and increased penetration of broadband and smartphones. Mobile voice revenue will also be a potential growth area in emerging markets due to the large amount of unserved customers.
Emerging markets are the future of many industries, but especially telecommunications, for their huge potential for establishing brand presence and several layers of resulting growth. What many people in more developed countries take for granted—mobile data, cell phones, new apps, etc.—are just starting to gain footing in emerging countries.
As the number of people who never even had a smartphone begins to rise, wired technology is giving way to wireless and new ways to connect people and countries. Service offerings will vary based on country challenges and opportunities, but the overall scope is clear: there is much growth opportunity available in emerging markets.