Wireless and broadband are two industry sectors that are going through significant and rapid change. Some providers are early adopters, front and center in this new world. Others are slower.
However, there is one thing we have all learned over the last several decades. Change or die is the reality every competitor faces on a continuous basis.
Every wireless and broadband provider must change or die
We are in the early stages of this next transformation wave of the connected world. We talk about it all the time, but how do companies change and remain competitive? And who will pay for this level of change?
Glenn Lurie is CEO of Synchronoss. I’ve known him for several decades. He was a key executive at AT&T and AT&T Mobility. He launched the iPhone in the USA and created their IoT business.
That’s where he learned key lessons about the business. Now that he is running Synchronoss, you can see his new focus on the company.
This is where the rubber meets the road. Synchronoss focuses on four areas that wireless and broadband companies must be concerned about.
One, is personal cloud related services. Think of this like customers who upload photos from their smartphone to the cloud. Today, Verizon is their largest customer.
Two is messaging. They currently manage half a billion email boxes. Plus, RCS or Rich Communications Services among other areas.
Three is the digital business. This is about software. It allows operators to improve the way they interact with the customer. Example, when users need to upgrade their devices, how do they do that?
Four is IoT. The other three can point to new revenue and better experience. However, IoT is the next direction every business must be focused on.
All of these areas are key to the way this industry will grow and transform over the next decade.
Synchronoss Technologies, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, Comcast, Charter, Altice
They work with companies like AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, Comcast Xfinity, Charter Spectrum, Altice and so many others both in the USA and globally.
Every business in every industry is starting this major transformation to new technology and services. Companies who are early adopters gain a lead, for a while. Then as competitors enter the space, eventually the competitive advantage becomes just a cost of doing business for the entire industry.
We are in the early stages. That means the early adopters will have a competitive advantage for the first few years, until their competitors ultimately jump in as well.
This is an area every competitor needs to understand. They need to get their feet wet. They need to understand this next, new direction. If they do, they can remain leaders and viable competitors going forward. If they miss this next shift, they will ultimately lose.
Remember how T-Mobile nearly crashed and burned
This has happened in the past. Remember when the wireless industry moved from 2G to 3G. At that time, AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless and Sprint made the move.
However, T-Mobile didn’t understand the direction the industry was heading. They delayed their shift and it almost ended them.
That near-death experience took several years to recover from. It took many years, a new CEO and new strategy to pull up before they crashed and burned. Today, they are strong players in the 4G market and like other competitors are working toward 5G.
That is a horror story no other CEO ever wants to live through. That’s why it’s important to get up-to-speed on the changes that are transforming the entire industry. That’s why it’s important to develop a strategy and be one of the early adopters into this new space.
Lead, follow or get out of the way
This is a question of leadership. Every competitor has a choice. They can lead, follow or get out of the way. Which category does your company fit into?
Wireless and broadband is growing and changing. So is telecom, pay TV, Internet and other industry sectors as well. As time passes, all these separate sectors are coming together. Companies who led in one sector could find themselves falling behind during this next transformation wave.
It’s happened before. Consider the last decade when the Apple iPhone and Google Android entered the smartphone space. Leaders at that time where Blackberry, Nokia and Palm. Now leaders are iPhone and Android.
My how things have changed. Past leaders have fallen. That’s the risk of non-action now. That’s why it’s important to continually see into the future and prepare your company today. That’s exactly what Synchronoss helps companies do.
Jeff Kagan is an Equities.com columnist. Kagan is a Wireless Analyst, Telecom Analyst, Industry Analyst, speaker and consultant. He follows wireless, wire line, telecom, Internet, cable TV, IPTV, Cloud, Mobile Pay, FinTech and communications technology. Email him at [email protected]. His web site is www.jeffKAGAN.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeffkagan.