The once staid telecoms industry has evolved to become a vibrant ICT market, underpinning the successful operation of the vast majority of UK enterprises. At the same time as becoming more dynamic, flexible and customer-oriented, the challenges for service providers have become more intense – not just in terms of technology evolution, but also in terms of changing customer behaviour and expectations, and in the number and disparate background of competitors.

The marketing and selling of potentially confusing services (cloud, apps, 4G, LTE, xDSL, fibre, Ethernet, virtualization, fixed-mobile convergence, etc.) has to be delivered to customers in commercial terms that they can understand and, despite the ever growing complexity behind them, must also be straightforward and intuitive for end users – the challenges are significant, but so are the opportunities.

On the supply side, the key event has been the acquisition of Cable & Wireless Worldwide by Vodafone. This has implications for every player in the UK enterprise market, from incumbent BT to resellers and dealers. BT faces the biggest potential challenge as the combination shines a bright light on its mobile strategy, which has failed to deliver year after year. The company now needs to do something radical, such as acquire EE, if it is not to suffer the continued erosion of its revenue base not, as to date, from mobile substitution of fixed, but from the trend towards convergence and unified communications.

With consolidation already happening amongst smaller and mid-sized fixed service providers, the Vodafone-Cable & Wireless Worldwide combination is likely to accelerate the process as players look either to fill geographic or portfolio gaps, or look to establish sufficient critical mass to survive in a commoditising market. Download to read more...