Friday, 24 November 2017

Managing egos is key to successful partnerships – EE

By Nick Wood , Total Telecom in Barcelona
Tuesday 26 February 13

CEO Olaf Swantee highlights need to for operational focus while Etisalat admits telcos 'suck' at OTT.

EE chief executive Olaf Swantee this week shared some of the experiences his company has had when it comes to forming partnerships with other players in the industry. Speaking at a conference session at Mobile World Congress on Monday…

EE chief executive Olaf Swantee this week shared some of the experiences his company has had when it comes to forming partnerships with other players in the industry.

Speaking at a conference session at Mobile World Congress on Monday, he insisted the vast majority of the partnerships he has worked on have been successful; however, the comments that followed were delivered in a way that suggested some have been more successful than others.

"Where most partnerships fail is at the operational level," he said. This is because "of the difficulty of getting all the people you need together in the same room and working with each other...There are a lot of egos involved."

He urged audience members to have "an enormous focus on planning the operational side" of any would-be partnerships.

Etisalat's chief strategy office Daniel Ritz also proffered some advice.

"Don't let it die a slow death," he said. "You have an announcement and a press conference and there's a lot of excitement, but when the spotlight is off you need to make sure you keep the momentum going and keep this thing alive."

When it comes to over-the-top (OTT) services, there was a time when mobile operators avoided partnerships and took it upon themselves to roll out their own services, from music, news and games, to instant messaging and social networking; competing Web-based offers were routinely blocked as telcos sought to keep a tight grip on revenues.

"Telecoms companies are a lot more rational these days," said Ritz.

Indeed, an Amdocs study last October concluded that 70% of service providers see OTT players as potential partners, not competitors.

"When it comes to things like Facebook and DropBox, we're not even pretending to be good at that," said Ritz. "We actually suck at that."

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