The phrase ‘change is the only constant’ is commonly attributed to the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, who died in 475 BC. Yet it perfectly sums up the recent history of the communications industry. While seizing new growth opportunities at home and abroad, and managing the risks of an uncertain environment, operators’ priorities have evolved at dizzying speed.
In the recent past, we’ve seen a surge of investment in network build-outs (remember all that ‘unlit fibre’), then the dot-com bust triggering a wave of consolidation via M&A, and then widespread cost-cutting programmes. Those were followed by the wireless race, then the broadband race, then more cost cutting. These successive waves of activity have left most operators on a largely equal footing as far as their service offerings and platforms are concerned, throwing the focus back onto the business basics of differentiation, customer relationships and operational structures.