The telecoms value chain used to be relatively simple: vendors would sell infrastructure equipment and software solutions to operators, who would build networks and offer services to end-users. Nowadays, the picture is more complex: the new ecosystem includes many more stakeholders from the whole telecoms, media and ICT world, and the traditional client-supplier relation is being replaced by more inclusive partnerships.
This topic of the changing ecosystem was discussed at the ITU summit this week in Geneva, with AT&T’s VP of International Affairs Eric Loeb saying: “Significant changes are coming from the traditional telecoms environment, including how people communicate, how they pay, how they work together. Two-way traditional, voice and email now co-exists with social media that enables many to many communications. It is not always supplemental, it is sometimes an alternative. Service providers need to be agile and forward-looking in terms of the platforms they provide.” This agility and innovation is essential if operators want to retain their relevance in a world where consumers’ expectations of services has changed so radically. As Johan Denneling, CEO of International at Vodacom said in an interview this week, “creativity is just as important as technology when it comes to developing useful, practical solutions to customer needs”.
That is why the Com World Series is embracing the changing ecosystem by providing platforms to discuss the changes in the telecoms, media and ICT ecosystem. The conferences no longer focus solely on the traditional telcos but cater for the whole digital ecosystem, including alternative service players, OTT players, social media brands, content providers and more. The objective is to facilitate exchanges between the stakeholders to promote new models, partnerships and services to engage with the consumers in a more effective way.
AfricaCom, taking place in Cape Town in two weeks, includes new sessions dedicated to service innovation, social media, content and apps, broadcasting, enterprise services, cloud computing and more. In addition to the region’s traditional operators (MTN, Vodacom, Orange, Atlantique, Airtel etc.), new brands will contribute to the programme: Google, Mxit, Motribe, Multichoice, SABC, Universal Music and more.
The Middle East Teclo World Summit, coming up at the end of November, will open with a debate on the role of OTT players and whether they’re disrupting the operator business model. The session will include contributions from Google, Nimbuzz, Yahoo, Areeba Areeba, as well as operators Du, Nawras, Viva and Mobily.
The 2012 programme will continue expanding its scope with more sessions focusing on telco transformation, innovation, ecosystem evolution and new services for different segments.