7. Ineffective engagement with industry verticals and public sector
COVID-19 has accelerated digitization across many industries, suggesting new opportunities for telcos to deliver sector-specific enterprise solutions. While different industries are at varying stages of their 5G and IoT investment programs, they all need support to realize the “next wave” opportunities. Meanwhile, the pandemic has deepened telecoms’ relationships with governments and strengthened its status as a national strategic asset. Making the most of these shifts will require ongoing focus and engagement.
8. Inability to adapt to a changing regulatory landscape
The importance of digital infrastructure during the COVID-19 crisis has prompted regulators to focus more on consumer protection, data privacy and the digital divide. New areas of stakeholder scrutiny are also emerging such as regulation of network equipment supply chains. Meanwhile, COVID-19 has made industry regulation less predictable, with several countries deferring spectrum auctions. Operators must ensure that regulatory burdens remain manageable and reflect telcos’ renewed importance to society.
9. Failure to mitigate evolving disruptive scenarios
Geopolitical and global trade forces are disrupting network equipment supply chains, as a number of countries mandate bans or limits on hardware from Chinese vendors. The costs and effort of removing existing equipment could potentially delay 5G rollouts. Other disruptive trends include diversification of network equipment supplier bases, and equipment vendors targeting private Long-Term Evolution and 5G networks for enterprises, threatening operators with disintermediation.
10. Failure to take advantage of changing market structures
An increasingly diverse wholesale landscape is opening up fresh opportunities. In mobile, 5G network slicing presents growth potential for enterprise-focused mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), while fixed wholesale is seeing growth in fiber altnets and cable infrastructure wholesaling. There are also opportunities to simplify the network estate and de-risk investments. To capitalize effectively on more efficient market structures, operators will need to reassess their M&A and partnership strategies.