This article originally appeared in Bangkok Post.
Telecommunications companies in Western Europe and North America have long focused on capturing growth in the consumer market as mobile phone usage became nearly universal and they sold broadband, TV and other data services to customers at home and on the go. They gave less attention to the business-to-business (B2B) market, where revenues were smaller and margins thinner.
Now, telcos are expanding their focus to B2B, where growth is expected to outpace the consumer telecom business. While forecasters expect the consumer market to continue growing at 0.6% annually, the B2B market—which includes everything from home offices to large enterprises—could grow at 2.6%, mostly due to demand for mobile data and addressable IT services.
Learning how to capture this opportunity will be a challenge for some companies, since they haven't provided their B2B groups with sufficient resources and have placed responsibility for these units too low in the organisation. When these companies do go after business opportunities, they often diffuse their efforts with too many projects, frequently overlooking opportunities in their core connectivity businesses.
However, they can make the change and develop this revenue stream if they refocus their strategy based on three clear principles.
Christophe Van de Weyer, Florian Hoppe and Derek Keswakaroon are partners with Bain & Co's telecommunications practice based in Brussels, Singapore and Bangkok respectively.