For utelcos, what are the business models that can be employed to help them make the most of the opportunity? And moreover, once they are in place, what impact will these models have on the utilities’ businesses?
I recently had the pleasure of attending Frost & Sullivan’s third annual African Excellence Awards Banquet, which was held in Johannesburg, South Africa. At the banquet, Frost & Sullivan recognized companies across a variety of industries in both regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in the areas of leadership, technological innovation, customer service and strategic product development.
A group of us from ECI, along with Ivan Soldo from NewTelco, traveled to Uganda in East Africa in early December for a telecom workshop. I’ll get to the details on the workshop in a moment, but I must first say that Uganda is an absolutely beautiful country, with a very lush, very green landscape. Renowned for its fish, Uganda is home to Lake Victoria, the second largest freshwater lake in the world. The lake is famous for perch, which is exported worldwide and is at the center of heated debate between authorities and biologists. If you have the chance to visit this wonderful place, I recommend it without reservation.
Of course, just because the communications opportunity is real for the utilities, doesn’t mean that all utilities simply need to follow the same blueprint to achieve success as utelcos. Every utility has a different constellation of assets and capabilities. For that reason, the utilities have had to build their telecoms business based on two factors:
Anytime there’s a business opportunity that looks promising, there will be entrants into the space from many different directions.
For example, when eCommerce originally hit the scene, we saw everyone from music producers to supermarkets to industry analyst groups attempt to hop on the wave and build a new revenue stream for their businesses. Some of them succeeded. Some have not. Some initially failed and then reevaluated the correct approach for their market, and have since retried and succeeded.