Why should telecom operators and startups collaborate?

telecom operators

Many startups are at the epicenter of innovation, providing the world with news ideas, products and solutions that can be utilized across industry sectors. These young enterprises often provide consumer-relevant products/solutions that are strongly driven by technology.

Telecom operators and startups collaboration has never made more sense in a time where the services of both are required for the digitally-savvy consumer. However, realizing and developing initiatives has been a persistent and time-consuming challenge. Fundamental changes to current approaches are required to truly harness the innovative power of startups.

The challenges operators face

Digital disruption has made it challenging for mobile operators to keep up with the fast-paced nature of innovation therefore, sustaining competitive advantage in the telco sector is becoming increasingly difficult to achieve. No doubt, operators have impacted the lives of billions of people all over the world, providing widespread access and user-friendly ways of communication through Voice, SMS or USSD. Mobile operators have deployed powerful distribution networks that make our daily communication possible, in good times and adversity. Today, mobile devices have become the primary channel for accessing the internet and other services. It is therefore fundamentally important, to optimize the user experience. Operators lack innovation and forward-thinking of a start-up, who are often in touch with the trends of the market and certainly understand the needs of the millennial generation, in context to daily (modern) life.

The challenges startups face

Startups face a number of challenges on the path to recognition and success. Oftentimes, they experience a shortage of investment capital, lack market insights and governmental support. Startups have not reached an operator’s scope and scale of outreach and therefore an exchange of insights would benefit and drive momentum for both professional endeavors.

How can operators and startups collaborate effectively?

Operators need to focus on increasing growth of their core revenue and diversifying their revenue streams. Startups can provide a mobile-centric, innovative approach, that will enable operators to engage customers with unique product offerings that may just set them apart from the competition. The market is indeed saturated with services and offerings but when collaboration pushes a product or package in a dynamic way, this can help operators attract more potential customers. Such services will be based on a model that can benefit customers overcome every-day challenges. Innovative models provided by startups, can spearhead operator incentives to introduce more cost-efficient operations – a primary objective in the present day.

A balanced collaboration

A balanced approach to the collaboration requires a careful assessment of the haves and needs of both parties. Understanding corporate vision, as well as identifying aspects for growth, will enable each to provide a clear framework that defines areas of opportunity. Both parties can then utilize their tools to help support their goals and accelerate progress. Operators and startups can assist one another with mutual guidance and mentorship in areas where weakness is identified. Such an opportunity would enable operators to stay relevant and for startups to cover the scale of reach that telecoms operators have already established. Harnessing the power of startups begins with more telecoms operators reworking their business and operating models to allow for effective creation of services that can be of greater value to consumers in the present and future.