BT – Would You Like Broadband with Your Pizza?

R. Pritchard

Summary Bullets:

• BT has partnered with Just Eat and Checkatrade to offer discounted packages for broadband and mobile as part of its Enterprise Customer Charter.

• Service providers everywhere are looking to exploit third-party channels to maximize their addressable market – especially in mass markets like SOHO/micro businesses.

BT announced partnerships with Just Eat and Checkatrade to offer discounts on business broadband packages and mobile deals as part of the UK incumbent’s Enterprise Customer Charter – its ‘blueprint to boost UK plc by exploiting cybersecurity, digital services, and purpose-driven goals.’

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No More Faxes

R. Pritchard

Summary Bullets:

• UK regulator Ofcom is consulting on removing fax services from the UK’s universal service obligation (USO) for BT and KCOM.

• Once a core feature of office life, the history of fax machines goes way back, but they are set to be consigned to tech history.

The facsimile (fax) machine was ubiquitous in offices from the 1980s through the end of the 20th century, but the impact of email, the world wide web, and the relentless rise of unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) platforms is set to witness the demise of a technology that served users well in analog days (as long as there was paper and ink in the machine, no blockages, and not someone else using it already).

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What the UK Economic Rollercoaster Might Mean for Enterprise Telecoms

R. Pritchard

Summary Bullets:

• Reaction times to extraordinary events have improved, but the economic crisis is different as interest rates are rising with the potential of exposing under-performers.

• ‘Zombie’ service providers and ‘zombie’ customers will be exposed, leading to supply-side consolidation and increased competition for a smaller base of corporate and SME business.

Since the ‘mini budget’ of September 23, 2022, things have become extra-extraordinary in the UK with billions of pounds being thrown around to counteract the resultant economic impacts and to protect citizens from the knock-on effects of Russia’s war in Ukraine. While the general public worries about paying mortgages, the rising daily cost of living, and global instability, telecoms service providers must plan for a range of potential future scenarios and outcomes and develop ‘what if?’ thinking in response to evolving market circumstances.

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Virgin Media O2 JV Infrastructure Investment Accelerates UK Broadband Gold Rush

R. Pritchard

Summary Bullets:

• Virgin Media O2 joins InfraVia Capital Partners to spend GBP4.5 billion on a fiber wholesale joint venture (JV) to offer connectivity to up to seven million premises

• As with any other gold rushes, the only guaranteed winners are the folks supplying spades, diggers, and other infrastructure provision services

Virgin Media O2 has announced a partnership with InfraVia Capital Partners to form a JV deal, which is expected to close in Q4 2022 to build a full-fiber network to provide connectivity to up to seven million premises as a complementary geographical expansion to Virgin Media O2’s existing target of 15.5 million premises – delivering a UK fiber footprint of 80% coverage on completion. The focus of the 50:50 JV will be to offer wholesale connectivity services both to Virgin Media O2 (as anchor tenant) and to other communications and internet service providers. The timing of the announcement when BT Openreach employees were on strike is more than a coincidence. Continue reading “Virgin Media O2 JV Infrastructure Investment Accelerates UK Broadband Gold Rush”

Vodafone Delivers Purpose in Action

R. Pritchard

Summary Bullets:

  • Vodafone is seeking to demonstrate how it uses technology to address connected education and connected health markets in both developed and developing countries.
  • Propositions such as ‘school in a box’ and m-mama in Africa have helped in delivering the education sector and safer healthcare for pregnant women.

Vodafone recently presented examples of its Purpose initiative, whose goal is stated to be “we connect for a better future by enabling inclusive and sustainable digital societies.” The three pillars of this strategy are Digital Society (connecting people, places, and things and digitizing critical sectors); Inclusion For All (ensuring no one is left behind in a digital society); and Planet (tackling the climate crisis, reducing carbon emissions, and helping others reduce theirs). These all demonstrate practical implementations of the company’s environmental, social, and governance (ESG) agenda, as well as demonstrating that offering socially useful applications can also be a commercial opportunity.

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UK Service Providers Ramping Up Focus on UK SME Market

R. Pritchard

Summary Bullets:             

  • Vodafone has published insights into the UK SME market – the latest move amongst service providers as they look for future growth in the business segment.
  • Service providers are increasingly understanding the importance of behavior, maturity, and small business strategies when addressing this vital, complex, and substantial market opportunity.

Vodafone’s ‘SMEs Like Me’ report examines attitudes, motivations, and challenges of British small businesses. The report’s publication is yet another indication that service providers’ focus is increasingly turning to small businesses as their best engine for future growth in the enterprise market. This is especially true when the multinational corporation, large enterprise, and public sector markets are over-supplied and, in many cases, flatlining.

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Vodafone UK M&A Rumors Indicate Further Consolidation During Cost-of-Living Crisis

R. Pritchard

Summary Bullets:

  • The incremental consolidation of the UK enterprise telecoms market continues in light of broader national combinations, with further deals inevitable.
  • Although driven by financial imperatives in a highly competitive market, these developments reflect a broader re-segmentation in the context of the current economic environment.

Following the creation of the Virgin Media O2 50:50 joint venture between Liberty Global and Telefónica via the merger of their respective Virgin Media and O2 UK businesses, there has been an increasing pressure on Vodafone, BT, and other players to improve investor returns by creating a greater scale through mergers and acquisitions.

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Plan Continuation Bias in Telecom

R. Pritchard

Summary Bullets:

  • Telecom companies tend to set their strategy for years ahead on an annual basis and usually based on what they did last year.

There used to be an expression at a major telco that ‘products are not launched; they escape.’ This was a result of the historic tendency to double-check (or triple/quadruple-check) every aspect of product and service provision before launch.

With the introduction of competition, things got more efficient – and continue to do so as new entrants join the market both directly and, increasingly, from ‘left of field.’ However, old habits die hard and the quest for technical perfection endures.  Alongside that, corporate cultures and leadership are also evolving to become more agile and flexible, but planning the future tends to rely on updating what was done last year, rather than taking a step back, looking at the big picture, and working out where customers are going and how the market is evolving. Continue reading “Plan Continuation Bias in Telecom”

UK Data WAN Market Continues to Evolve

• The combination of Virgin Media and O2 is potentially a significant counterweight to BT and Vodafone, but plenty of competition from challengers like Exponential-e and Neos Networks

R. Pritchard

• Roll-out of local/last-mile fiber networks extending and expanding bandwidth and choice, ensuring ongoing competition and innovation – both through direct and third-party channels

UK enterprises, organizations, and the public sector increasingly rely on data connectivity to deliver to their customers, to communicate, and share information internally and with partners. While the scope and manner of such communications has changed (e.g., greater use of public Internet and the growing importance of cloud/SaaS connectivity) during the COVID-19 pandemic, the fundamentals of market growth remain: everyone is using more data everyday for an expanding range of activities, applications, and communications.

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ESG Tops the Enterprise Tech Agenda

Summary Bullets:

• ESG is currently the hottest corporate topic with attention accelerated by the effects of COVID-19, but driven by customer, investor and value chain demand

• ICT companies are leaders in ESG, looking to reduce emissions, improve responsibility, and act ethically to win business and attract the best talent

ESG is everywhere at the moment, across all sectors and all over the global media. It is attracting the attention of governments and regulators, driving investment decisions, and becoming a key aspect of winning customers and the best talent. The challenge of ESG runs from the c-suite to vehicle fleet managers – it takes historical commitments to corporate social responsibility (CSR) to the next level and beyond.

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