Talking at the opening keynote session at this year’s Total Telecom Congress, executive speakers from Vodafone, Altice Portugal, Swisscom and CSG shared their hopes for the industry in the coming years

Global Telecoms Reimagined. When this moniker was selected for the Total Telecom Congress over a year ago, we here at Total Telecom had no idea just quickly the world would change and how prescient this phrase would become. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, this reimagining of the telecoms industry is quickly moving from fantasy to reality.

But this process is not entirely driven by the global crisis. In many ways, the coronavirus has merely accelerated a process of digitalisation that was already taking place, forcing businesses to adapt quickly to a world transformed. And, while many telcos have made incredible progress in just a few short months, their ultimate transformation still has a long way to go. 

What does a telco of the future look like? What role will telcos play in the rapidly evolving ecosystem, especially in light of the disruptive potential of 5G? Speaking at the opening keynote session from this year’s Total Telecom Congress, major industry figures shared their hopes for the future of the telecoms industry. 

“What would be the first issue you would change to reinvent telcos? If you had a magic wand, what would be the most important change for you in this quite troubled time?” asked moderator Jean-Dominique Séval, founding director of Soon Consulting. 

James Kirby, SVP, Head of EMEA at CSG

“There is a lot of legacy with operators because of the way systems have been built – we need to go digital. We need to reimagine ourselves, otherwise OTT players and others will be eating at the pie. 5G will be a major part of this, opening up lots of opportunities. But I think the real key will be making sure that we provide really good, solid customer experiences.”

Luis Alveirinho, CTIO at Altice Portugal 

“We are in a situation where we don’t have a role model. No one has ever been in this situation before,” he said. “So, what I would like to do is reset and restart the mindsets inside the organisation. This is not an easy thing to do – to tell people that they have to go outside their comfort zone […] people have to act with more agility and speed, they have to think ask themselves every day, every second, to think outside of the box.”

“There are no big and small companies. There are companies that are efficient and those that are not. We need to inject into our DNA the normal mindset of start-ups.” 


Christoph Aeschlimann, CTIO at Swisscom AG 

“I think telecoms historically has never really been preoccupied with phasing out things. We just pile up services and platforms on top of the ones we already have, without thinking about the technology debt this incurs. This ongoing renovation – which is actually never finished – is a constant fight of putting in something new and needing to take something out with the least cost and friction to the customer.” 

“Here we have to get better from a tech perspective, but also from a culture perspective. If I had a magic wand, my wish would be for a clean slate, to start as a greenfield operator!”

Scott Petty, CTO at Vodafone

“Telecoms has been very slow to disrupt itself,” said Scott Petty “Most of us spend too much effort in protecting our old commercial models and not moving them aggressively enough to new ones that we build. When we don’t do this quickly enough, eventually the regulators get involved and force us to do that.”

“We need to change our mindset to be more forward-looking, more customer-orientated – where we are constantly innovating and moving our customers along with us. If we can do that, we will find it much easier to remove legacy technologies and platforms from our business because they will no longer be required. We really need to challenge ourselves as a business, not just on the technology side but on the commercial side, to disrupt our business models.”


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