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EDITOR’S BLOG 141217 The changing face of telcos in 2018

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As Christmas and the New Year approaches, thoughts turn to what 2018 might have in store for the sector. The biggest issue for the coming year is quite fundamental: what kind of business are we?

Our guest opinion this week from Lars Månsson, Vice President Global Pre-Sales and Solutions at DigitalRoute points out that one of the main things that telcos – and those in the telco market – are going to spend 2018 doing is asking themselves: “what is my business going to be?” and as an outlier for a market in flux.

Månsson argues that technology fundamentally changes what telcos can be and should be. There is no such thing as a ‘traditional telco’ and different businesses can act in different ways to offer different sets of services depending on the niches and sectors they service, the countries they operate in and the consumers they are after.

This has long been a watchword for the telemedia industry and was something that hit home at World Telemedia in Marbella back in October. On show there were many innovative companies who were telcos, quasi-telcos and other service providers, all looking and monetising the ‘telecoms market’ in myriad different ways.

One of the companies that was is driving this move is RGK Mobile. As Vladimir Yuzak, Business Development Officer, RGK Mobile points out in this video interview, his company has created a whole new business model – the virtual content provider.

And the model works. Already this month RGK has signed lucrative deals with online personal trainer, body builder, and social media phenomenon Lazar Angelov to distribute Angelov to distribute his content and with BITE in Latvia and Lithuania for carrier billing. These two deals are just part of what RGK operates as a business model, providing content services and billing as a thing to businesses that want to get on the mobile content map.

But this is just one example of just how different the telecoms market is set to be in 2018. What it all points to is a really different world out there from the telecoms market we all remember for even five years ago.

Driven by content and billing, payments and new services we are set to see a boom in how consumers interact with brands. And it is going to go well beyond media and online content. If I were a betting man, I would be betting the kids’ Christmas presents on 2018 being the year when we see ticketing, carrier billing and other services converging on mobile. People will be paying for parking and other road use payments on mobile, but it will be part of other services such as car shares, city centre tolls and more.

It will all be Uber-like – with the payment process buried and not really the thing that anyone looks at. Ticketing will showcase this change with the point being that a mobile experience will lead to the purchase of a ticket that will allow access to a real experience that will then produce ‘content’ and further experiences for the consumer that they will share on mobile and so it goes around and around. The buying of the ticket will be almost insignificant: just a click or two in this parade of fun.

But all that lies ahead. For now, since this is the last posting from me for 2017, let me wish you all a Merry Christmas and a very happy and diverse New Year. Can’t wait to see what fun we have next year!

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Editor and content creator for Telemedia – for 18 years and counting

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