Telco 2030


The future of the telco business model – To be or not to be

The future of the telecommunication landscape in 2030: A scenario approach

The pace of change in the European telecommunications industry is accelerating: the boom years are either over or coming to an end very fast. The tech sector has seen enormous disruptive changes affect social life, politics and business. The accelerating pace of change makes predictions hard, so we adopted a more holistic approach – and we now invite you to travel with us into four scenarios for the telecommunications industry in 2030. Our scenario approach does not aim to predict the most likely outcome, but to illustrate what could plausibly happen in the telco world and how market players might deal with the many uncertainties along the way.

Extensive research based on Natural Language Processing algorithms, desk research, and expert insights generated a long list of drivers that could shape the future of the telecommunications industry. These were then analyzed and clustered into five categories: social, technological, economic, environmental, and political. The drivers were then rated for their degree of uncertainty and their impact on the telecommunications industry.

Telco 2030

Driver evaluation according to degree of impact and degree of uncertainty

Zone of Interest
Degree of Impact
Degree of Uncertainty

What are plausible scenarios for the future?

The four scenarios for 2030

The four scenarios in 2030
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The engineer strikes back

In “The engineer strikes back”, telco companies own the network technology domain and infrastructure as well as the customer relationship. This is where telcos come from and where they hope to end up. They drive network innovation with their technological competence and have the ability to maintain and operate their assets. The telco players furthermore master the customer relationship and can thus focus on the whole value chain. They own the revenue control points, having direct access to their B2B and B2C customers.

The new wholesale truth

In the scenario “The new wholesale truth”, telco companies have finally lost the end-user control points they cherished for so long. To remain relevant, telcos have gone back to taking over full control over the network technology where they still have their core competencies.

The virtual telco

In the scenario “The virtual telco”, telcos remain the primary customer relationship holders but are displaced from the network layer as they transfer tech domain sovereignty fully to vendors and other players who move into the network by becoming new infrastructure players.

A vendor brand

In the scenario “The telco brand – powered by vendors”, telco players have been driven out of both domains, customer relationships and technological mastery. They focus on their few remaining capabilities, trying to find their sweet spot in the market to maintain their relevance.

Telcos are mere ghosts of their former selves, and serve as the wholesale sales and service teams of their parent tech companies for B2B customers. 



Download our study for further information on the future of telcos. See how telcos need to define themselfes in order to survive in the market. Do they want to be the holder of the network infrastructure and customer relationships at the same time or would they rather focus on one of those two domains in order to maximize shareholder value?

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