Telcos to TechCos: Operator
Transformation for a Digital Future

By: Ari Banerjee

In the rapidly changing telecommunications industry, communications service providers (CSPs) are constantly updating their operations and business to provide the best customer experience, dynamically evolve their digital ecosystems, and reach new levels of automation and security. This investment in digital transformation has revealed several necessities for CSPs looking to keep up with customers’ changing needs, as well as ensure they are getting the most out of new opportunities. This includes balancing speed, agility, risks, quality, and business value. By having a strong transformation solution, CSPs will have the right tools, practices, and skillsets for a smooth transition into new business models.

We have entered 2023 with the telco business at a crossroads. 5G networks are rolling out across the world. By mid-2022, 205 operators in 80 countries had launched 5G mobile services. Their high speed and immense capacity are set to support new consumer habits, changing industrial processes, and new ways of working.

To compete in this new environment, CSPs need to make their organization future-ready by considering key questions such as:

  • How to transform the company to a software-centric and cloud-enabled business
  • How to digitize customer-facing and B2B services
  • How to replace legacy systems with a cloud-based IT stack
  • How to change company culture to embrace digital transformation
  • How to build omnichannel systems that deliver a seamless, consistent customer experience
  • How to structure the organization to ensure the most effective use of assets such as network, towers, infrastructure, and more.

Telcos are at different stages of their digital transformations, but many are already addressing the above questions. For an increasing number of CSPs, digital transformation goes hand-in-hand with their plans to transform from telecommunications companies to technologies companies (telco to techco), a transition that will be vital going forward to make sure their organizations are future-ready.

Remaining relevant in challenging times

CSPs have had to be resilient over the past few years. The pandemic made it clear that they are so much more than just a commodity: instead, they became lifelines and an essential means to keeping people connected. While that trend has continued, CSPs are still dealing with business and other pressures that require big changes beyond just providing connectivity to capture new revenue and business opportunities. But in order to remain vital in the digital future, telcos will be required to transition to techcos.

Besides the desire to adopt hallmarks of technology companies, such as Agile methodologies, in order to become more flexible and make rapid changes, telcos are also thinking about the transformation to techcos from a business standpoint. Telcos have historically had to spend more in capital expenditure (Capex) for their infrastructure, which does not always yield the revenues that services and other areas might. As a result, telcos have relied heavily on technology partners for development, hamstringing themselves in their own efforts to create in-house and realize the


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