Leading global telecom wholesalers have made satisfactory progress with Artificial Intelligence (AI), but companies must do more by fully embracing AI, and developing a robust strategy that supports all areas of the telecom wholesale business.
Alignment of the AI strategy to top operational and corporate business goals will be required.
GlobalData’s discussions over the last year with global leading telecom wholesale providers still highlights a commonality in strategy amongst telecom providers selling wholesale connectivity, both in terms of strategic vision and in the products and services they offer.
Where wholesale providers differ
Where companies differ it’s influenced by the nature of the core networks that support products and services, global geographical reach, and strength of product/service brand (e.g., antifraud solutions, mobile roaming), and lastly partnerships.
Innovation is a real focus for wholesale providers as they move forward in 2023, as well as portfolio strategies in driving growth in regions like Africa and Asia for international voice and backhaul subsea connectivity, 5G connectivity, cloud enabled wholesale, and security.
One recent example includes BICs, one of the leading wholesale communications platform providers, offering intercontinental 5G Standalone roaming connections between two live networks in Europe and the Middle East. Another recent example is Orange and Medusa Submarine Cable Systems joining forces to offer an open and high-performance interconnection solution to all partner operators of the Medusa cable.
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Digitization also remains a true focus as providers continue to offer highly touched digitized wholesale solutions in applications like IoT and M2M. Examples include companies like Telefónica Global Solutions (TGS) digitizing customer experience processes through tools such as the zero-touch customer control centre, which offers access to information and visualization and service reports.
Carriers should develop a robust AI strategy to supporting wholesale business
The telecom wholesale segment is no different versus carrier B2C/B2B activity, and faces similar challenges encompassing escalating operational costs, declining profit margins, and difficulty in commoditizing the sheer volumes of data that exists on telco networks. And although telecom wholesalers have started to utilize AI, overall, they have yet to fully embrace the innovations around it. A key prerequisite to carrier efforts will be the implementation of a clear strategy that cuts across wholesaler portfolio and wider business functions.
Nevertheless, GlobalData’s discussions with telecom wholesale executives highlight ambition for companies to embrace new developments in Generative AI tools like ChatGPT, with a view of creating seamless customer service experience and ‘touchless’ connectivity. Furthermore, there are wider AI related wholesale product and service developments – examples include Verizon Partner Solutions (VPS) utilizing robotic process automation (RPA), and AI/ML to streamline internal service fulfilment processes, removing complexity and reducing delivery time, allowing VPS to respond to customer requirements more quickly; TGS offering an AI driven antifraud solution ‘Tuku Fraud Management System’ that offers extensive range of fraud type flexibility; and British Telecom adding Application Protocol Interface (API) interfaces to its contact centre solutions, allowing channel partners to develop and integrate their own AI bots.
AI must be aligned to the company’s top business objectives
As a concluding statement, while it is evident that global telecom wholesalers have started to implement AI, businesses have yet to fully embrace it. Required is a clear strategy that not only cuts across wholesaler products and services but one that is aligned to the company’s overall business objectives – this will be a prerequisite for success moving forward.