The global telecoms industry is facing increasingly volatile times when it comes to the mobile market. Fixed and mobile operator services are converging, such as Vodafone and Kabel Deutschland in Germany, Telenet and Base in Belgium and BT and EE in the UK. At the same time, there is a growing call for 5G services to be rolled out, with carriers in South Korea, China, and the US among the most active in testing 5G technology. Increased synergies between fixed and mobile networks and the coming advent of 5G are driving the need for seamless fixed-wireless connectivity and the bandwidth potential to support bundled service offerings.
The evolving telecoms landscape
Fixed mobile convergence (FMC) is reshaping the telecoms market as we know it. It is a powerful tool to capture mobile customers from competitors. Early results show that converged customers have a lower churn rate of up to 50% compared to non-converged customers.
We’re also seeing a widespread growth in the Internet of Things (IoT) and machine-to-machine (M2M) communication; with countless new devices being developed to support the connected society. The average family of four now owns 24 connected devices in total, compared to just eight devices in 2012. This is according to recent research from GSMA, which also reveals this figure is set to rise to 50 devices by 2022. These devices are set to support developments in connectivity across a number of different areas of everyday life – from connected homes and healthcare, to autonomous cars and smart utilities.
The competitive nature of today’s personal and professional environments also requires a high degree of agility in terms of IT infrastructure, and as a result, we’re seeing far greater traction in the uptake of Network Function Virtualisation (NFV) and Software-Defined Networking (SDN). The former enables CSPs to reduce the cost of a network deployment by using a combined approach of data centers and cloud infrastructure, whereas the latter is used to create a more dynamic network that can manage traffic and bandwidth better, enabling CSPs to provision new services quicker. Increased virtualization and orchestration will play a critical role in the dynamic integration of fixed-mobile networks.
The go-to strategy
For those CSPs who can approach this increasingly volatile mobile landscape in the right way, there is plenty of opportunity for them to improve their service provisioning and increase their market share. So, what is the best strategy to capitalize on FMC?
Key enablers such as fiber, 5G, SDN, and NFV will play a central role in supporting the provision of bundled services and making convergence a reality. We’ll also see increased smart device usage through IoT/M2M services.
Network, systems, and information
Data rationalization in the B/OSS and network inventory layers respectively will prove critical in improving service fulfillment and assurance, driving operational efficiencies and maintaining quality of service and experience for users.
The adoption of a holistic framework based on industry best practices is essential for operators to define and implement their FMC transformation. This should be focused on services, people, processes, tools, and infrastructure alignment, and will be key to supporting seamless alignment of fixed and mobile environments.
Convergence, unification, and optimization
Processes and systems across marketing, sales, activation, provision and customer care must be consolidated.
In the increasingly turbulent telecoms landscape, CSPs’ strategies for FMC should focus on achieving greater market share, reducing churn and increasing average revenue per user (ARPU) through offering bundled services with ubiquitous connectivity. By following the strategy outlined above, they will be able to achieve operational transformation and meet their long-term objectives for the 5G era.