With over 50 dedicated professionals around the world, the telecommunications practice of Value Partners can boast a leadership position in advisory services. In the last 15 years, we have assisted many of the leading players in addition to new entrants and start-ups. We work both in mature markets and in emerging markets.We have partnered with leading investment banks and private equity companies with interests in this area. We have assisted regulators and telecommunications ministries in Europe, Asia and Latin America.
Our ability to intervene covers all areas critical for business: we take care of the strengthening of the commercial effectiveness of sales channels, excellence in customer service as a competitive lever in the more mature markets, both in the fixed and mobile telecommunications markets, and operative efficiency to defend margins (capex pruning, lean organisation, make vs. buy policies).
We assist our customers in the service innovation processes made possible by the fixed-mobile convergence and the spread of broadband; we work on identifying new revenue sources and promote innovative criteria for operational management.
On the regulatory front, we work alongside leading authorities on development and access to infrastructure issues, the allocation of scarce resources (frequencies), licence allocation and the orienting of emerging markets (eg. OTT services).
Technology and networks
In these years of strong discontinuities in infrastructure development, TLC operators are facing new challenges:
- on the one hand the exponential growth of mobile data traffic requires rapid adaptation of the capacity of wireless networks, not only accelerating the migration to new mobile technologies (from 3G to 4G, and 5G in the pipeline), but creating “hybrid” fixed-mobile solutions (Small Cells, Net-Net) which make it possible to increase coverage in a targeted manner in areas with greatest saturation;
- on the other, the evolution toward fibre access networks with very high bandwidth (NGN/NGA) involves a substantial redesign of the architecture (including at the level of backhaul and backbone) and of service delivery models.
Value Partners has assisted many telecom operators in different activities, such as NGN/NGA business planning, investments and public/private partnership models; the roll-out strategy of high-speed networks (geographical priorities, customer propositions, …); the evaluation of the frequency spectrum and the auction bid strategies (800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2.1 GHz, 2.6 GHz for mobile, 2.5 GHz and 3.5 GHz for Wi-Max) and the optimisation of the operational model (eg. outsourcing of network components, rationalisation of IT systems).
We have also worked with non Telco utilities for the development of passive infrastructure and with companies specialising in the management of mobile radio towers for the evaluation of new solutions to increase the capacity of wireless networks (Small Cells, Distributed Antenna Systems).
Given the increasingly undefined boundaries that separate fixed and mobile, telecoms and media, the role of the Regulatory authority in the TLC sector is increasingly complex. The regulatory framework plays a key role in the development of advanced infrastructure and in the speed of service innovation (one need only consider the deployment of next generation networks and the problems of the digital divide).
In particular, some challenges are emerging:
- What is the optimal balance for the regulatory sector between rules for intervention on the market and a gradual approach to regulation? Are existing remedies sufficient to counter market dominance in the media and telecommunications sectors? Is the market review based on the EU outline applicable to emerging markets?
- What policies should be followed to provide users with a high-speed broadband that is ubiquitous and affordable? What is the role of governments and public-private partnerships in the implementation of national broadband? How should the next generation access networks be regulated to promote investment and competition?
- How to cope with the increasing demand on the part of providers and optimise the current allocation of the spectrum in order to increase the value? How to speed up the refarming of the spectrum at 900MHz? How best to use the digital dividend?
Value Partners has assisted the leading fixed and mobile operators, the telecom and media sectors regulatory bodies, governmental and industrial associations on a wide range of topics concerning legislation. In particular: opinions on policy and legislation on the liberalisation of the market and the development of competition; expert witness testimony and analysis of complaints and disputes that concern issues of law; evaluation of regulatory and commercial implications of migration to the NGA, including cost-benefit analyses, technology strategy and the offer of government securities; the influence on legislation of a wide range of themes (SMP assessment, LLU pricing, unbundling of networks, …); advice on policy and legislation on the telecoms services and media concessions (renewal of the broadcast licence, design of the auction structure, …): construction and management of industrial and public consultations for regulators or responses to consultations for market operators/shareholders.
Careful market segmentation, an understanding of the conquerable potential and priorities, combined with an understanding of the positioning of each operator in the different market segments are the basis on which to develop an effective marketing strategy and a successful value proposition of success.
Value Partners has worked alongside numerous operators in various regions in the development of an approach that would allow them to intercept both the key elements of use and purchase, and those related to lifestyle, and so develop differentiated marketing strategies articulated on the different levers. In particular branding, identifying which segments on and how to position the main brand, what strategy to adopt for other segments/niches (eg. sub-brand, second brand, MVNO); the offer, developing a value proposition focused on key services and pricing models, liable to stimulate purchase by each segment, and articulating the offer portfolio consistently to the customer life cycle, avoiding cannibalisation and competition across different business lines. And more: publicity, defining which key messages to convey and what media mix to adopt, and the go-to- market, identifying the most appropriate channels for conveying services or possible partnerships with brands from other sectors, …
In a market in which the voice service is becoming a commodity, the development of a clear VAS strategy is an imperative for all operators in the sector. In addition, the entrance into the sector of added-value services by players from neighbouring sectors requires telecommunications operators to develop a strategy that will maximise the extraction of value from the current scenario.
Value Partners has supported clients in designing their own VAS strategies, identifying the offer portfolio and methods of pricing, the phases of the value chain to be controlled and the associated business models to be adopted, as well as the implications for the different distribution channels (portals, application stores, physical distribution, …)
The distribution challenges for operators are very different in the various markets and require different approaches. In emerging markets, for example, it is crucial to maximise the territorial coverage to capture the growing market. In more mature markets, instead, it is necessary to optimise coverage to reach niche markets offering little competition or to rationalise the manner a presence is effected. Thus, the role of the channels themselves changes radically, and it is therefore necessary to review the management strategy: acquisitive centres or levers of all-encompassing development of the customer base (retention, upselling).
In general, the typical areas of intervention for the optimisation of the distribution model range from the definition of a clear role for each channel – to reduce efforts and eliminate gaps – the alignment of channel incentive models to the company’s sales target; from the organisational set-up to processes and systems to ensure the effectiveness of the governing model, and on to the coherence of the customer care, CRM and retail channels.
Value Partners has a strong experience in the field of optimisation of the distribution model to maximise commercial effectiveness. We have gained valuable experience in the field of retail channel segmentation and development of multi-channel strategies; the development of innovative channels (eg. push channel, web, …) and the revision of orders and incentive systems. We have also focused on the optimisation of geographical coverage and re-sizing of the channel, the definition of a model for points of sale (POS) and the design of channel balance score cards.
In mature markets, excellence in customer service is becoming a strategic priority for telecommunications companies. The traditional approach to customer service (establishing a trade-off between quality of service and efficiency; the multi-channel nature of the contact based in value and often uncoordinated) appears inadequate to support the new context effectively. A paradigm shift is necessary: a true multi-channel approach for contacts (all channels for all customers), the customisation of interaction across all channels, and a strong integration between them.
In the last two years, we have assisted operators in this radical change, generating significant improvements in customer satisfaction indices, and in parallel achieving substantial cost efficiencies that today are considered best practice. In this context we focus, in particular, on the definition of the multi-channel caring strategy; of customer experience management programmes; the development of loyalty programmes and loyalty review strategies (lock-in campaigns; activities of pure caring, …); the churn prediction model and churn prevention strategy.