by Jason Weiss | December, 2019
5 Takeaways from Axis Corporate Edition: Telecom event
100 industry experts, startups, investors, and ecosystem leaders from over 10 countries gathered at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange on December 5th to discuss the future of the telecom industry. Axis Corp Edition: Telecom - Axis Innovation’s latest event and the first dedicated event for telecom innovation in Israel - focused on 3 of the industry’s most pressing challenges today: The Customer Experience, 5G & IOT Solutions, and New Value Added Services. In just 4 hours, we had 3 core panel discussions, 14 startups pitches, over 50 1-1 meetings, and lots of amazing energy about the potential for startups in the telecom space.
Here are 5 key takeaways:
Telecom is BIG: The telecom industry is massive (there are over 8 billion mobile subscriptions today, 104% of the total population!) and telco services are critical to all industries and the entire global economy. Moreover, total mobile data traffic is projected to increase at an astonishing rate of 27% CAGR over the next 5 years, largely due to 5G. This will change how we interact with mobile devices as consumers, how business and industries run, and more, as the world becomes truly connected like never before.
Timing is Right: Now more than ever, telcos need new innovation. ARPU has dropped 34% on average globally over the past 10 years, and telcos are truly aware of the urgency to find new revenue generating services and to become more efficient businesses. “We need to find new solutions, and we are open to meeting with all startups” said Georgia Diamantopoulou, Leader of Innovation @ OTE Cosmote, Greece.
Customer Experience is King: In 93% of countries in the world telco services have reached commoditization or are on the brink - which means more competition amongst each other, lower revenue, and higher churn. To counter this, telcos need to provide a new level of customer experience that is more personalized, seamless, and data driven. The key word “Friction” came up by all panelists on our Customer Experience session which included OTE Cosmote, Amdocs Ventures, Hutchinson 3, and Facebook. “Customers want a frictionless experience, and we need to provide that or they can just switch to another telco” said Vera Steiner, Innovations Manager @ Hutchinson 3 Austria.
It’s time for something new: On our New Value Added Services session, expert panelists including Hutchinson 3 Austria, ATT, Lenovo, and Orange admitted they need to find new services that can help bring in revenue and increased customer loyalty, and then we discussed innovative solutions from fintech, cyber security, parental control, and even gaming. But it’s still a challenge for them as big companies to work with small startups. Erez Sobol, Director of External Innovation @ Lenovo memorably put it this way “Working with a corporate is like working on a big boat - you try to convince someone on one side that you have a great idea. They have to go to the other side of the boat to convince their colleagues of the idea - but it can take them months to get back to you, and after all this time the people on the other side may not be there anymore!”
5G - Underhyped, overhyped, or just right? Our 5G expert panel including Nokia, Ericsson, Samsung, Singtel, and Qualcomm share unique insights into the state of 5G and what we can really expect over the next few years. All agree that 5G is truly revolutionary, but the big challenge is the applications - what will be the “killer apps” of 5G? Private networks, smart cities, and mobile health were key areas. The overall consensus: currently slightly overhyped, but within a few years will be very accurate.
The Axis Corp Edition: Telecom Event was a fantastic success and a great continuation of our work in telecom. Our next step is the TIGR program - an industry-first innovation program for telecom operators providing dealflow, strategic insights, and advisory work to successfully implement new startup technology and services. Contact us for more details, and stay tuned for more posts!
1. Ericsson Mobility Report, November 2019
2. Commoditization in wireless telecoms, Strategy & PWC Report https://www.strategyand.pwc.com/gx/en/insights/wireless-commoditization.html
3. Commoditization in wireless telecoms, Strategy & PWC Report https://www.strategyand.pwc.com/gx/en/insights/wireless-commoditization.html