Both fixed-line and mobile markets have become more complex than ever before. While problems such as price erosion, new competitors and customer churn still need to be solved, new technologies such as VDSL and LTE, and new services such as IPTV or mobile TV, need to be launched to gain a competitive edge.
In the fixed-line market, incumbents face increasing churn problems, while smaller players try to find a way to stand out, apart from just offering lower prices. What was state of the art last year is only a commodity this year. And the bandwidth race is picking up speed, while the value added for consumers is less and less. Profits are down.
IPTV is about to take off, but the challenge here is to convince not just early adopters, but also the general population. Moreover, the question as to how telco providers can successfully participate in Web 2.0 beyond providing merely the data highway, becomes more relevant in times of declining margins and low differentiation.
Other considerations, such as ensuring continued demand for existing products while guaranteeing investment returns for suppliers of new products, are still major issues.
Mobile providers have experienced significant price declines in recent years and business models have changed. MVNOs have become both competitors and powerful wholesale customers at the same time.
Mobile TV still has to prove itself, and operators fear that this might be another flop like UMTS. And although UMTS is slowly gaining importance, it still lacks the mobile data killer application. Mobile broadband is seen as one of the biggest threats to fixed-line services. Is this really true? How can mobile operators efficiently tap into the large broadband market? How can operators find the right balance between low-cost/no-frills offerings and high-quality services?