Limbering up for massive disruption

Written by on November 19, 2014 in Opinion with 0 Comments

Generally, news report of giant companies reshuffling their boards does not generate much excitement. But in the wake of predictions from Ericsson of the coming tidal wave of – mainly video based – mobile broadband traffic, it may be that it is a sign of the big players limbering up for the coming battles.

Both Microsoft and Intel are struggling to find their place in a world that is rushing from PCs to tablets and a new generation of devices that overlap the areas of tablet and phone. It is a huge change. Intel will be moving its Mobile and Communications Group into its continuing profitable PC Client Group, that may well need a boost in the next few years. The company may be regretting the day that it sold its ARM-based product set to Marvell. Microsoft is going through a similar fundamental review.

Device makers are not the only ones, as new Sprint boss, Marcelo Claure makes some radical changes. Not least of his changes is to introduce a Chief Experience Officer, in order, presumably to enhance the customer experience. Perhaps, at last, telcos will learn that this is crucial to their survival. Claure certainly has an entrepreneurial streak, having founded and built Brightstar into a $10 billion plus business. “It’s often said that the people are the greatest asset of a company. I disagree,”  said Claure in a statement. “The right people are the most important asset.” And the customers.

Meanwhile, while much disruption seems to be the order of the day, the Europeans had an unexpected boost today, as Isaac Chebar says, ‘Telecom stocks paid off [in 2014]. The new regulation will give these companies more freedom to invest. Currently, they are under-investing in Europe compared to the US.’ Telecoms makes up 11 percent of his Paris based fund and he believes that the sector will continue to generate a lot of cash. Although there is no ‘star’ quality in the stocks, he understands that ‘they are not delivering fantastic performances but are holding fairly well compared to a very volatile market.’

The question is whether this ‘stability’ is a sign that European telcos have yet to fully wake up to the sea changes in their businesses or are already on the case. If the latter, and they feel ready for disruption, then let us hope they have fully briefed their IT and Billing departments on the changes about to hit them, otherwise, as has happened before, they won’t be able to bill for the new stuff.

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About the Author

About the Author: Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet. He is publisher of DisruptiveViews and previously BillingViews. .

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