In an exclusive interview with Telecom Review, Guillaume Boudin, CEO, Sofrecom Group, explains how the group assists telecom operators and highlights the importance of investing in very high broadband networks.
How does Sofrecom assist telecom operators especially in an increasingly competitive industry?
Telecoms globalization and accelerating changes in ICT usages and technologies are attracting new players and making competition ever more intense. In this changing market, our teams analyze, anticipate and assimilate key industry trends to find the best way of addressing their specific challenges. We design for and with our customers, innovative, value-creating solutions.
For telecom operators, tight control of technological innovation is one of the keys to financial performance. Sofrecom helps operators to keep one step ahead of the never-ending changes in their markets caused by technological breakthroughs and new forms of competition.
We work with them to attain their business and human goals. We intervene at all stages of the value chain – from strategy definition to operational implementation – drawing on our knowledge of operator businesses. Sofrecom consultants are experts in strategy, marketing and organization, customer experience and digital, mobile financial services… in fact in all key telco disciplines. We can help operators to design and implement operator’s strategy, conduct transformation programs, and achieve tangible, durable results.
The data traffic generated by new usages is obliging the operators to upgrade their networks to increase bandwidth and to continue transforming their business model. The challenge is simple yet daunting: deploy reliable, upgradeable infrastructures of sufficient scale to create value while limiting investment and operating costs. Sofrecom supports its telco customers at every stage of this process. Our consultants undertake a vast range of missions worldwide, including operational management, network and service optimization, mobile networks … and notably migrations to next generation networks (4G, LTE, mobile broadband, fiber backbone, FTTx, etc.). We guide operators' investment choices, organize the convergence of fixed-line, mobile and Internet networks, and supervise the associated operations.
At last, Sofrecom’s "management services" are modular and can be adapted to the required level of partnership:
- Conduct of change : assistance for senior managers and creation of long-term change programs;
- Management contract: Sofrecom takes over the operator’s key management functions for an extended period.
In your opinion, why does superfast broadband network represent a huge investment for telecom operators?
The operators ‘activity is driven by the usages and by the consumers’ quality of service requirements.
The telecommunications networks give access to an ever- increasing volume of information, contents and services, and are becoming more and more essential for individuals and companies. This new era of hyper connectivity is the result of a strong and ongoing commitment of the global digital industrial ecosystem and of the telecom operators. But success has a price: the great responsibility in providing the customers with high-level connectivity, not only about performance, but also in terms of coverage and quality. This is the responsibility of both of the telecommunications sector and public authorities.
It is thanks to investment that networks, technologies, and thus coverage, high speed and quality emerge. For the telecommunications operators, superfast broadband should become a technological standard in the medium term, but it requires investments of several tens of billions of euros on a national scale.
The networks roll-out is at the heart of an operator’s investment: It is about deploying infrastructures and equipment to the customers as closely as possible, in other words the physical features making up this network. But deploying a network does not stop there. The creation of links enabling the transmission of information between the local loop and the network core, that is to say the collection network, must also be taken into account. The roll-out of the networks’ core (links, infrastructures, switching equipment, databases) also represents an important investment for the operators.
If the physical roll-out for the purpose of territorial coverage is a necessary condition for the development of services and contents, other types of investments in networks must also be taken into account:
First, operators constantly adapt their networks capacities to their customers’ use. These investments do not necessarily modify the territory coverage, but ensure the flow of the customer’s traffic and better speed. They have to think not only about the growth of the customers, but also about the growth of their consumptions in services (voice, SMS and data especially).
Then, maintaining networks is a key investment item for the operators. The aim of the operators is to maintain and improve the quality of service offered to the customers on their networks.
At last, the competitive level on the market has a direct impact on the level of investment.
Beyond the regulatory deadlines for deploying networks, the competitive intensity may also play a role in accelerating the operators’ deployment speed. The stronger the competition is, the more the operators have an interest in investing to stand out from the other competitors.
What differentiates Sofrecom from its competitors?
Sofrecom has a unique position in the global market place. Incorporating business and marketing along with both technical and human aspects, for a range of complex professions. As a world leader in the transformation of telecoms operators, we can intervene at all stages of the value chain – from strategy definition to operational implementation – drawing on our knowledge of operator businesses and, if need be, the vast resources of the Orange Group. We can mobilise multidisciplinary teams dedicated to complex projects and set up governance guaranteeing compliance with our commitments
Our approach is focused on sharing and exchanging; our customers are considered as partner. They can take advantage of Sofrecom’s continuous analysis and experience of both mature and emerging markets. Our proven consultancy methodology based on many years of conducting international projects in varied contexts involves our total immersion in our customers ecosystem to be sure we take its realities into account.
We are focused on the notion of local presence, for better understanding of the cultures and ecosystems.
As a subsidiary of Orange, Sofrecom enjoys the support and technical expertise of a highly reputed global operator. Our technology experts act totally independently of equipment vendors: their role is to be a genuine partner and help achieve operational excellence.