Pointing out that the telecoms industry has spent more than $1 trillion in the last five years for less than a 1 per cent return, the TM Forum leader stressed this was not sustainable and that the industry had a three-year window to get “fit for growth”.
So how does the industry do this?
Well, the good news is that there is room for optimism: the value of the core product created in reliable connectivity is “only growing every year”, Nik Willetts noted, and he pointed to the potential of security, cloud and IoT to offset declines in traditional business offerings.
TM Forum chair Steffen Roehn picked up on this, saying he saw the business-to-business (B2B) sector and new cooperation with hyperscalers as further engines for growth.
The stress on core connectivity as a key revenue stream was amplified by a number of service provider CEOs, including Singtel’s Anna Yip, who said “generating growth from core business is key, while seeking new growth areas,” while Telia’s Alison Kirkby added “we went back to core because that’s how we felt we could get back to growth – for years Telia had acquired businesses that we had no right to be in.”
The other area, of course, which generated (pun intended) much discussion around growth, was of course generative AI. In his keynote address, Amdocs CEO Gil Rosen declared that, sitting on the fence and watching what others are doing with GenAI is not an option for communications service providers, they must get involved.
Gil pointed out that “GenAI is not generic. It needs to be specific and niche in order to make it effective for the telco industry.” He and his fellow panelists agreed that a crucial element for GenAI success depended on the accurate curation of data and the installation of clear guardrails to set boundaries. Fellow panelist and Microsoft CTO Rick Lievano added that telcos who have been “dragging their feet for years in terms of the public cloud are demanding GenAI now – it’s a big flip.”
“GenAI is not generic. It needs to be specific and niche in order to make it effective for the telco industry.”
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