“Telco saved us during Covid, but it has not changed the dial for the telco.”

A common theme is emerging across most of the telco events Appledore attends. Lots of patting on the back for a good job done in Covid. Lots of talk about the challenging profitability of telco and the commoditization of its major services. Plenty of talk about innovation and transformation, but limited evidence of anything that really changes the dial for CSPs: a slightly better core and a slightly better, slightly more flexible, lower-cost RAN, but doing something different is missing.

Similarly, there is hope for new opportunities from cloud-based networks, cloud-native applications, and AI. Lots of desire to become relevant to enterprises with new private networks. However, most CSP projects in this area remain either science projects or where the enterprise application value remains stuck in delivering connectivity.

In all these areas there is a disconnect between what is painted as a huge opportunity for telco and actual progress on the ground. An industry that is involved in lots of small projects, but no sense of how this business scales. An industry still waiting for the new killer use case.

This research takes this “industry in the doldrums” narrative and tries to offer some answers as to what telco innovation could really be. It looks at the need for increased clarity of the role that telcos can take, both individually and combined with others in addressing customer problems.

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Report author: Francis Haysom
Publication date: 29/06/2023
Number of pages: 8