The emerging cross-industry ICTization changes competition within the wholesale business 2032

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1 Strategy Christof Gerlach, Dr Werner Knoben, Tim Schellschmidt Everything Flows The emerging cross-industry ICTization changes competition within the wholesale business 2032 The need for cross-industry ICT solutions as aggregated service bundles opens up a whole new world of opportunities for telco operators to stretch out into new fields of business. Following this trend, the wholesale offering portfolio will change as well. There is a tendency towards Infrastructure offered as a Service (IaaS), with connectivity and Managed Services in the focus of wholesale companies of the future. 18 Detecon Management Report 2 / 2012

2 Everything Flows I n 2032, all technical devices are part of an interconnected world where Machine to Machine (M2M) communication is a major pillar for both business and private use. The cornerstone of these developments is a future version of the Internet Protocol, IPv6, allowing almost unlimited assignment of IP-addresses. This ICTization created by this Internet of Things opens up huge potentials for the network providers wholesale business besides traditional transport oriented business models. Interconnection and transit services still have an essential role in the overall connectivity of devices. The potentials, however, are in the fields of operating as a service integrator, wholebuying specialized ICT services and offering them as a refined Managed Services bundle. On this basis, four major wholesale business models are established: 1. The connection of technical devices in the retail market requires wholesale access products on different access infrastructures like copper, fiber and cable as well as on all sorts of mobile networks like WiMAX, HSXPA, LTE and future standards. 2. Nomadic retail services combined with high bandwidth requirements demand seamless traffic handover between different access technologies. Thus, intelligent wholesale aggregation solutions are required to enable connectivity and high quality seamless data transport. 3. Networks in different regions are interconnected by worldwide operating backbone operators which provide quality differentiated data transport to enable high quality as well as best effort data interconnection between all kinds of different access and aggregation providers. These operators enable Managed Service providers to guarantee worldwide quality of service (QoS) while operating from a centralized location. 4. The enormous speed of technical evolution fosters the development of specialized Managed Services which are the most complex and most profitable high end products in the market fulfilling the end customers real demands. Their USP is the integration of innovative services along the ICT value chain like remote M2M machine maintenance, security, data processing and connectivity. This integrated full service bundle is sold to specialized retailers (e.g. automotive or health device manufacturers). Examples for Managed Services can be found in all areas of innovation: ehealth: Ability to connect patients life-data surveillance and medical personnel to remotely monitor health data and allow immediate emergency response. Smart Grid: Ability for utilities to guarantee stability of the energy grid by leveling out demand and decentralized supply through smart meters sending real-time demand data and by automated just in time production. Mobility: Operation of automated large convoys of connected cars reducing petrol consumption, preventing accidents and increasing highway capacities; innovative road toll collection combined with smart fleet management. The above described wholesale business models are the result of retail trends convergence, seamless service offering and overall connectivity as well as a technology neutral access regulation which provides wholesale access to fair and non-discriminatory conditions reflecting the risk of the investing access provider. Market drivers of the wholesale business End users take connectivity for granted and are not willing to pay high prices for their connectivity to other devices or the Internet. Even the introduction of QoS has not changed this customer perception much. This fuels high cost pressure on the access and transport related operators. The end customer s willingness to pay for innovative Managed Services is much higher, as they satisfy his essential desires. Already today, the trend is to have all data available anytime and anywhere by automated communication processes, but deployment of cloud computing and M2M accelerates this development. In 2032, almost every technical device is online, producing extensive overall data traffic, though the individual M2M data volume and ARPD are presumably very low. In consequence, obtaining high volumes and realizing economies of scale is most important for a positive business case. This will be difficult on a fragmented access market, but companies offering a reliable aggregation and backbone network will attract many interconnection agreements with access providers. A high network volume enables these providers to efficiently utilize their capacity and offer a cost efficient data transport. Hence, the market for aggregation and backbone will most likely be dominated by a few big national players as necessary economies of scale resulted in massive consolidation. 19 Detecon Management Report 2 / 2012

3 Strategy However, focusing on traffic volume and cost leadership only is shortsighted. Aggregation and backbone providers also regard quality aspects. They need to be able to offer transport of traffic in different QoS, with guaranteed parameters for delay, jitter and packet loss probability. The largest profiteers of QoS are Managed Service providers: with increasing reach, connectivity and quality of backbone networks, they do not need a local presence, as their services traffic can travel worldwide at light speed, high quality and low cost. From a single location the whole world can be served. Managed service providers are aiming for a horizontal integration of their service offering portfolio to enable ICT industry convergence. By using the same production platform with offerings for several industries, development costs can be kept low and the company s risk can be reduced, creating economies of scope. Especially for Managed Services providers, wholesale plays an essential role as selling their platform to specialized providers with specific industry focus increases the benefit from economies of scope. In the telco industry network effects play an important role. The more customers use a specific service, the more valuable this service is for other users. Hence, the more possible applications there are across different industries, the higher is the demand for end-to-end connectivity and Managed Services. Increasing industry demand will again attract more application developers, creating a positive feedback loop. The first mover advantage in the emerging cross-industry ICTization is a crucial success factor and creates competitive advantages. It is necessary for providers to be positioned in the market before the critical mass of adopters is reached and the network effects and positive feedback loops take off. In 2032, aggregation and backbone wholesale markets will have undergone a darwinistic selection process, with only few large, multinational companies left. The fixed access market will be largely fragmented, accompanied by nationwide operating mobile access providers. The big winners are Managed Service providers, which can offer their services independently without any own infrastructure investment. Key Success Factors The successful wholesale business models are a match of the following customer requirements in the retail market: Convergent ICT based managed services: Customers requirements and demands will be much higher in 2032 with the increasing familiarization of the ubiquitous application of ICT, expecting innovative ICT based Managed Services facilitating life in private and business. Seamless traffic handover between different access networks and devices: End-user devices are access technology neutral and connect to the most efficient network. The user s expectation is convenience of use. He is not even aware of the access technology in use. A voice call is either routed on his fixed, mobile or connected car device, depending on his location and behavior, and it could be offered by the automotive supplier for example operating as a Bitstream MVNO. Quality of Service differentiation: The current best effort internet solution is replaced by QoS differentiated data transport in all hierarchical network layers. The advantage is prioritized services: The more you pay, the more you get. The wholesale market reflects those requirements with QoS specific data interconnection and Bitstream access agreements. Fast and simple device and service activation: The Internet in 2032 is the Internet of Things: everything is connected via the global network. The number of devices increased exponentially since today. The customer expectation for service activation is plug-and-play, which is reflected in the wholesale market by simple and fast activation processes. Easy operator churn: Telco retail markets in 2032 are highly competitive. Customer churn between competing retail operators is easily possible by effective number and IP address portability. Reflecting the seamless service provision, wholesale access is granted on all access technologies on non-discriminatory conditions. Wholesale becomes more and more important driven by globalization, convergence of different access technologies, access market fragmentation, economies of scope and the increasing 20 Detecon Management Report 2 / 2012

4 Alles im Fluss relevance of Managed Services. Four key success factors are responsible for the increasing relevance and the ability of the wholesale sector to reflect the said customer requirements. From today s perspective, there are four critical action items for operators and regulators: 1. Ability of service integration and provider management: Managed Service providers need to be able to integrate all necessary service parts from different providers to form a new innovative and attractive bundle and efficiently manage this highly complex production scheme. It is this ability which decides who will occupy this most attractive part of the value chain and not the operators background and the service parts they contribute. 2. Standardization: A single technical interface standard and mainly automated provisioning guarantee low implementation costs and fast service activation. Standardization comprises technical interfaces of Gigabit Ethernet based layer 2 Bitstream products (realized on mobile and fixed networks), order management, provisioning and service assurance processes. Standardization supports the interoperability of several parallel operating networks, the interoperability on different network hierarchies and the requested seamless traffic handover. 3. Differentiated QoS classes in wholesale agreements: Quality differentiation and service guarantees are incorporated in wholesale agreements and support the interoperability of QoS transport. Managed service providers choose a certain service class and perform exactly in such quality and for the price which is appropriate for their services. It enables them to provide quality based managed services, impossible on best effort data transport, and to offer their services from one centre worldwide. 4. Appropriate regulatory framework: Innovative infrastructure deployment is supported by an underlying technology neutral IP/NGN-based regulation, concentrating on sharing investment risks. Efficient spectrum management, refarming and usage of the digital dividend are part of it. An efficient numbering plan and the extension of numbering ranges reflect the exponentially increasing number of devices. Full number portability (fixed and mobile numbers, IP address) allows for easy operator churn. Access and interconnection conditions need to be non-discriminatory and fair. They are supported by the competition of parallel fixed and mobile infrastructures. Wholesale in the backbone and managed service area remains further mainly unregulated because of the high competitiveness of those markets. Wholesale Competitor landscape Depending on the technology and business model chosen to meet the tremendously increasing demand for high bandwidth, the wholesale operator landscape in 2032 looks very diverse in different countries. Urban areas in developed nations are mainly covered by fiber access networks or high performance cable networks. The rollout of these innovative infrastructures, particularly FTTH, required enormous investments. This was either based on Public Private Partnerships (PPP), publicly incentivizing private funding, or on pure private initiatives. The rural areas are mostly covered by FTTC or VDSL equivalent access. Implementing a modern fixed access network on a pure private basis required high initial investments. The high cost pressure in the telco access market due to the low willingness to pay for transport and the high competition by mobile and alternative fixed networks hampered these investments. This brought a massive competitive advantage to utility companies with their ability to deploy telecommunication and other infrastructure at once and leverage economies of scope. As a result, the access operator landscape in 2032 highly depends on the national circumstances of the fixed access infrastructure rollout. In countries, where PPP agreements prevailed, only few fiber access providers operate. Countries, where fiber was rolled out through private initiative, have a high diversity of local providers, mainly reflecting the network footprints of their utility parent company. Both types of access providers are offering bitstream access based wholesale services on a non-discriminatory and fair basis. These service offerings are based on regulatory access requirements to prevent any kinds of market distortions. 21 Detecon Management Report 2 / 2012

5 Strategy In parallel, high performance mobile networks based on LTE, WiMAX, HSXPA or future standards are operating nationwide in The rollout was backed by the digital dividend, intelligent spectrum refarming and license conditions which supported closing the digital divide. To satisfy the customer requirement of seamless fixed-mobile traffic handover, new forms of MVNO agreements exist in 2032 similar to Bitstream Access agreements. They enable mobile providers to handover traffic to collecting, quality differentiating aggregation providers. These providers operate their own access networks and wholebuy different access platform services from alternative providers. Alternatively, they wholesale their aggregating services to access layer providers or wholebuy on the access layer without owning any access infrastructure. Whether aggregation platform providers do wholesale or wholebuy depends on who owns the end-customer relationship. In addition, backbone network providers ensure the overall QoS differentiated data interconnection of all underlying access and aggregation layers. They operate in a similar way as the aggregation platform provider, i.e. they maintain wholesale / wholebuy relationships with the underlying aggregation providers depending on the retail relationship with the end user. Managed Services providers will offer the most complex and most profitable high end products. Their core competency of service bundling is either done by providing the sophisticated Managed Service themselves, wholebuying all the other necessary underlying connectivity services. Or, they wholesale their Managed Services to a connectivity provider to allow him to bundle all services. The presumably most profitable model is to provide all services out of one hand as a vertically integrated wholesale provider. This diversity of models allows players from all backgrounds to reach this position. The only question is who will win the race. Telco vs. Non-Telco In 2032, the range of companies in the wholesale sector is much broader than today. Besides classical telco providers offering connectivity services on their constantly modernized in- Figure: Player Segments Along the Future Wholesale Value Chain Wholebuy Access Aggregation Backbone/Interconnection Managed Services The infrastructure operators provide connectivity and wholebuy external Managed Services; both participate in this profitable market, while they are still able to focus on their core competencies. The managed services wholesaler profit from the sophisticated infrastructure of its partner. Wholebuy Access Aggregation Backbone/Interconnection Managed Services The infrastructure operators especially in highly fragmented markets only wholesale connectivity services which provide low margins and thereby wither to mere bit pipes. The specialized managed services providers wholebuy connectivity to offer full end-to-end services to own customers. Access Aggregation Integrated Operator Backbone/Interconnection Managed Services The vertically integrated service providers successfully offer all services along the whole value chain. This model allows the development of sophisticated platform services combined with their own Managed Service portfolio, which could yield high, advantageous economies of scale and scope. Source: Detecon 22 Detecon Management Report 2 / 2012

6 Everything Flows frastructure, new entrants like IT companies, electronic devices manufacturers, utilities and even content providers occupy important parts of the value chain. This diverse group of providers relies on different business models depending on their service portfolio. They all have one goal: Offering managed services to create value for the customers and to enable their complex IT based future production schemes, creating a high willingness to pay. This high profitability attracts players from all backgrounds to strive for offering Managed Services in different constellations: The first type is classical telco providers, offering connectivity on their own infrastructure and which wholebuy external Managed Services to offer the full end-to-end services bundle: Here, the telecom providers and specialized Managed Service providers participate in the profitable Managed Services market, while they are still able to focus on their core competencies. The telco operator profits from the specialized know-how of his partner, which in return uses the infrastructure and roaming agreements. However, only a very few big telco players e.g. from PPP environments will remain strong enough to operate this business model. The second type is Managed Service providers wholebuying connectivity to offer full end-to-end services. The approach is similar to the first, but here it is the Managed Services provider having the end-customer relationship. The classical telco only contributes the connectivity and withers to a low margin bit pipe. The winning parties here are the highly specialized nontelco IT companies which provide the Managed Service and profit from their higher margins. Particularly in countries with fragmentized access markets this wholesale model frequently occurs. The third type consists of vertically integrated providers. This is a promising business model for the telco and the Managed Service providers to merge to integrated operators. It allows being active in the development of sophisticated platform services combined with their own Managed Service portfolio. If organized and managed in an efficient way, these operators may leverage high economies of scale and scope, lowering costs of production and have competitive advantages over operators without infrastructure. In this business model equals could join or stronger players swallow weaker ones to get here. And it may happen in all directions: the software giant could even buy the traditional incumbent. Telco operators that want to dominate the game have to extend their service offering portfolio or unfold smart M&A activities. On the road to 2032, telecommunication operators are reaching a crossroad and face crucial decisions on how to prepare for the future of wholesale. Clear business models need to be chosen and market drivers and success factors need to be pursued in order to avoid becoming a pure bit pipe operator only. With a broadening competitor landscape and non-telcos like utilities entering the market business gets much tougher and consolidation in the industry takes place for operators to reach a sufficient size and profit from economies of scale. It is especially the rise of integrated Managed Service providers taking over profitable parts of the value chain that creates a whole new competitive situation: telcos either achieve to cover this sector or are marginalized to a pure bit pipe. Christof Gerlach is a Consultant working in the division International Telco. He focuses on the subjects of Strategy, Innovation Management, Marketing and Sales. Dr Werner Knoben is a Managing Consultant in the division International Telco. He focuses on the subjects of Strategy, Innovation Management, Marketing and Sales. Tim Schellschmidt is a Consultant in the division Services. He focuses on the subject of Strategy, Innovation Management, Marketing and Sales. 23 Detecon Management Report 2 / 2012

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