These aren’t Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Codes, but Ericsson and EY’s ‘Growth Codes 2.0’ that show ’successful operators share a common focus on network performance and customer experience’ even as ‘differentiation, innovation and technology approaches vary by strategy’.
The codes are also claimed to be part of the ‘road to 5G’.
The successful operators who have cracked the code are ‘Frontrunners’, who between 2010 and 2014 grew at 9.6% CAGR, well ahead of their competitors at 2.7%, while markets with no Frontrunners saw a -1.4% shrinkage.
The study notes that as traditional revenues under pressure and mobile data use soaring, operators have been forced to evolve both their networks and their business models.
Naturally, some have been more successful than others.
So, what are the Frontrunner strategies, which turn out to be as good for operators as they are for end users?
These strategies are:
- Quality-led progression: These Frontrunners differentiate through high-performing networks and high brand preference
- Market-led adaptation: Includes Frontrunners that differentiate through quick adaptation to market conditions
- Offering-led transformation: Refers to Frontrunners that differentiate by being first to market with uniquely designed offerings
Ericsson and EY also note in the study ‘a number of ways in which Frontrunners are similar including their views on connectivity and services as differentiators rather than commodities, and their focus on innovating new revenue streams rather than maximising old ones.’
It turns out that Frontrunners are smarter, displaying ‘greater interaction between marketing and technical roles, rather than the traditional silos, and they leverage network performance by either utilising superior network performance as a differentiator or by improving network performance to meet customer expectations.’
Here’s Ericsson’s video on the new study:
Martin Sebelius, Ernst Young’s Executive Director of Nordic Advisory, said: « We clearly see that despite their different strategies, frontrunner operators share a common commitment to network quality. Not surprisingly, Frontrunners constantly seek new ways of challenging industry conventions to make connectivity more relevant to people, business and society. »
Stéphane Téral, Infonetics Research Director, Mobile Infrastructure and Carrier Economics said: « This is a well-reasoned study that helps operators in different markets answer the universal question of where to invest and generate returns.
“Operators are trying to keep up with the growth in data traffic while facing significant economic conditions, including flat-to-declining revenue in often saturated markets. As it provides a nuanced view drawing on a global scope, this study is exactly what is needed for operators to thrive in any market condition.
« In addition, mobile consumers are very savvy today and understanding what makes operators tick can help them make better decisions as to where to lock in their subscriptions — I think this study could be as interesting to consumers as it is to operators, » said Téral.
Patrik Cerwall, Ericsson’s Head of Radio Strategic and Tactical Marketing said: « We wanted to understand what makes operators successful in order to be the best partner to our customers. It may sound self-serving, but Frontrunners focus on growth, both enhancing the core business while at the same time exploring new markets and capabilities to secure future revenues, such as IoT (Internet of Things) and vertical solutions.
« The journey toward 5G in 2020 will be marked by both new technology advances and new business models, but that transformation really started with the shift from voice to data-driven networking. The operators who are managing that transition successfully may provide the blueprint for success in 5G, » added Cerwall.
Ericsson says that understanding these strategies can help more operators become Frontrunners.
The company adds that in 2013, most of the 12 identified Frontrunners were associated with the Quality-led strategy, leveraging their size and assets to deliver superior quality, and thereby achieve profitable growth. Market-led operators were in the minority and Offering-led operators had not yet joined the Frontrunner ranks.
In 2014, we’re told the number of Frontrunners increased to around 20 and included Offering-led operators.
Now in 2015, the study projects that there will be 30 or more Frontrunners, with distribution between strategies starting to even out.
Ericsson says ‘it is important to recognise that Frontrunners are not necessary market share leaders in their respective regions. In fact, in 2013, most Frontrunners were #3 by market position. By 2015, it is projected that this, too, will even out with Frontrunners having representation across the top three market share positions.’