Disruptive technologies – The telco world moves between hope and fear

While telecommunication companies wish to expand the usage of disruptive technologies, they are concerned and confused over the implications arising from adopting them, according to a new report prepared for KPMG International by Forrester Consulting.

The report, entitled Powering a connected world disruptive technologies barometer: Telecommunications sector, is based on a survey of 580 senior telecommunications decision makers from 16 countries.

The study shows that telecom leaders are eager to use disruptive technologies to improve their products and services, reduce costs and outpace their rivals. At the same time, they are also concerned that disruptive technologies are undermining their business models and fear their businesses lack the organizational flexibility and agility to get the most out of new technology.

Telecom Disruption

The survey revealed the following:

  • Lack of a clear roadmap – Uncertainty concerning disruptive technologies is sweeping the sector. Telecom companies are worried that new players could usurp their traditional dominance as network providers.
  • Focus on customer – Telcos strive to enhance customer experience. They are keen to exploit the possibilities of the internet of things (IoT), wearables and data and analytics by tracking user behavior, adapting to needs and demands in real time and sharpening their marketing.
  • Selective choice – Service providers invest mainly in technologies such as IoT, virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR), artificial intelligence (AI) and digital currencies.
  • Need to adapt – The majority of telco executives (78 percent) fear their businesses lack the organizational flexibility and agility to adapt to new ways of working.


Forrester analysts conclude that the current telecom organizational model is unlikely to survive. Disruption pressures telcos to become platform companies offering a range of services from content to software and everything in between. The shifting shape of the sector is influencing every major executive decision. However, these same executives admit their organizations are not well positioned to adapt to disruptive technology.

They add that telecom companies face a two-tier challenge: they need to become internet and/or content-related organizations, while remaining custodians of networks that are safe, reliable and powerful.

To achieve these dual goals, leaders need to clarify investment strategies and prioritize disruptive technologies. They also need to master data and analytics and leverage them to their full potential. This can happen only if industry leaders are fully committed and prepared to make dramatic changes to their business and operating models.


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