( This guest blog is written by Mr. Asheesh Pandia, Canadian Telecom Market expert & shares his insight over telecom business in Canada. Readers would find it quite interesting to read)

Over the last quarter I had been very fortunate to interview and discuss one-on-one with some of the ‘who’s who’ of Canadian Telecom Industry. What’s most interesting behind the success of many of these leaders and their organizations’ outstanding performance was the extremely simple but fundamentally a profound marketing wisdom. I could easily compare their thought-patterns with the likes of Al Ries and Jack Trout, the marketing Gurus and founders of ‘Positioning’ theory.

Most of these interviews were remarkably insightful not only in terms of where the Canadian or Global Telecom Industry is headed to but also in that how just about any geography could relate to the other from the cause and effect perspective of micro & mega trends and eventually, in one way or the other, can possibly utilize the end takeaways towards their collaborative industrial betterment. From marketing standpoint this at first seems tough to assimilate though, let alone to be compared any further. More so, because we speak of one of the most dynamic and particularly now, evermore stirred-up industrial segments and also when the diversity is hugely evident, among widely different geographies. However, if we refer from the standpoint of ‘inspiration’, similar to a Casestudy, and not simply ‘adaptation’ because that would be unfair indeed; theories suddenly start making practical sense. In a way, it’s more like cross-industrial learning, redevelopment and collaboration or rather Biognosis and ‘Bio-mimetics’. Some may want to research those terms in entirety to get greater insight. The biggest challenges that Canada had faced since inception were essentially the huge geography, weather conditions and the diversely growing consumer demography, for instance. As a result, the network infrastructure maintenance investments went beyond and out of proportion and hence, the anatomy of basic marketing strategies today seems starkly different. And then there remain similarities too in terms of trends especially in the Social Media era. According to Mr. Gautam Nath, one of the best Canadian marketing knowledge-banks today, who I had the opportunity to meet recently, “Multi-Cultural marketing dynamics is the most sought-after horizon here in Canada at the moment”[1]. I feel essentially the rise in Multi-Cultural Marketing shares a similar pattern to that of the ongoing ‘Rural Penetration pursuit’ inIndia. And yet again, considering that Canada wants the largest pipelines at the lowest cost which definitely would demand more funds, access to global capital market through more relaxed and free competition and more incumbents is desirable not much unlike how it had always been in India regardless of the competition because population and the market size is awesome.

On a global level too, most telecom markets remain overall pulsating with focus on higher speeds, better interactivity and customer experience. Realistically, it is easy to understand that the Churn Management is definitely a very important issue still for the most part because acquiring a new customer is much more pricey and unpredictable than retaining the existing customer base. The latter, however, could also be equally demanding and complex but more often than not cost-effective to both the consumer and the service provider. The new generation of consumers is definitely not as loyal as it used to be in the Wireline-only era. Moreover, ‘Brand Loyalty’ itself cannot be compared at any given moment among a telecom service provider and a financial institution, in the case of the former; it could be far more casual for the consumer to be flirtatious and shop around. Another common challenge across economies is to maintain & strive to increase the dirt-cheap margins and that’s where the opportunities for telecom consulting and marketing organizations and analysts lie. Subscriber base might have been sustained or grown but the revenues seem to dip gradually. With respect to the extremely low-margins, it’s not difficult to gauge the situation when you find analysts use Price-Earnings (P/E) and Price-to-Sales (Price/Sales) Ratios as measures of valuation; for some companies have little or no profits to speak of unfortunately, especially at this time. And now, all of a sudden, inadequate Spectrum poses another big challenge in India which DoT, the telecom regulatory body, proposes to address with Refarming the 900 megahertz (MHz) spectrum when operators’ licenses come up for renewal between 2014 and 2025 by including it in the Spectrum Bill in its recommendation.  Telecom providers are of course not equally fond of such a recommendation by DoT because there are reasons to believe that it would not be appropriate at this point when you have to be moving all the subscribers to a brand new network as a consequence while they are on a fully functional one, already. Let alone the obvious interruption in current service and big investments that will be needed to carry out this change in any case, at any given point in time.

Still, we cannot deny the relative growth prospects that sound paradoxical after summing up all the above challenges but they are true for sure. I am going to mention the exploding Mobile Broadband Traffic below and the figures are mind-blowing. Whatever be the reason for this increase in traffic, in the end, telecom service providers have both the responsibility and the opportunity to serve the consumer well and make money. There is also no denying of the fact that there is a huge potential for the current generation of consultants in cross-economy trend-spotting as well as for telecom service providers to bootstrap themselves. Most of all, ‘to find their best identity in the value chain’ and ‘to be able to innovate lightening fast’ have been the top priorities of the best players so far and again trend-watching gives the best food for thought in terms of both innovation and the correct ‘Brand Positioning’.

For the most part, Indian telecom has been doing really well relatively barring the Spectrum Refarming struggle cited above; but the option of taking a look at the external and distant trends could also guarantee significant betterment for the ‘highly innovative’ kinds. The face of telecom is changing by the hour and it is not the same simple voice domain anymore rather a more holistic and all-embracing one – with the rising Mobile Broadband Traffic, dominant Consumer Electronics and a skyrocketing Ultra-Viral Social Media. Mobile Applications market for instance is the most astonishing at this moment[2]. Back in March of 2009, about 2,300 applications were available on the Android Market, according to T-Mobile CTO Cole Brodman. And in May, 2011 alone, during the Google I/O, Google announced that Android Market listed 200,000 applications and had already clocked 4.5 Billion installed applications. By July, the figure had crossed the 250,000 milestone. Distimo and Germany-based research2guidance forecast that the number of apps on Android Market would surpass Apple by the third quarter of 2011, with some 425,000 apps.[3]  Similarly in terms of Consumer Electronics and Mobile Broadband Traffic, iSuppli reckons global SmartPhone shipments will double by 2015 and account for more than half of all mobile phones sold. At the same time, mobile broadband traffic volumes will see a 2600{af589cdba9d77786c8c861317dbad60bba1e2ebbf56e2ffab874a1b59fde9ce3} increase in the next five years, say Nokia Siemens Networks’ own figures. The Nokia Siemens numbers are astounding — a 1000-fold mobile data traffic increase by the year 2020.[4]

To consumer, mobility is not a privilege anymore; it’s simply an ‘extension of access to information’ and telecom providers only need the ‘super value creation’ attitude besides the competent technology to win the game. Lack of mobility is rather a polite way of saying ‘denial-of-service’ in today’s competition. Take m-Commerce, for example, which has been considered as the game-changer especially in the developing economies. Even in the developed ones, it is not yet ubiquitous maybe because of the security-related, technological and psychological challenges but once the ice is broken and it is made easily accessible, there’s no dearth of the wonders that efficiently run m-Commerce could do. So for the winners, it must not just be the ‘Next Thing’. It rather ought to be a current service provisioning mandate top on their priority list to keep ahead of the rat-race.

Coming back to the trends and patterns that Indian telecom providers can bank upon. First of all, focusing on that one particular ‘differentiating’ Brand Identity, that makes any brand unique – it is just too important. What we see around today is everyone doing everything, everyone selling everything but the biggest brands in the world are the ones that do ‘only Their thing’ that reflects them directly and uniquely; when you talk about a particular product or service, it’s only that brand that comes to the consumer’s mind and vice-versa. Many of the top executives and telecom professionals advocate restricting the number of players to 4 to 6 and the reason behind that is both intelligent and plausible. However, from the perspective of brand management and positioning, more intellectual bandwidth should be targeted on their main focus and ‘focus’ is the key to positioning. The Narrower and Unique it is, the better for any brand. Forget about the competition for a moment, let’s first understand what we want to achieve, get clarity, prioritize our things and then jump in the warfare fully armed. This is one of the key findings you instantly get a feel of when you look at a market such asCanada’s. Each brand has an identity and a unique personality and that’s where the learning is. And in abundance!

[1] Source:

[2] Special Thanks to the Source Cited here: Mr. Ofer Glanz, the Founder of Barak Strategic Consulting for his exceptionally interesting insights at ‘Innovate’ that I am citing here with gratitude.  –Asheesh Pandia

[3] Citing Source:

[4] Citing Source:

( Disclaimer: All views expressed are Author’s own and not necessarily owned by the Company )

Tags : Android MarketCanada Telecom MarketIndo Canadian Telecom MarketMobile BroadbandRogers Communication CanadaSpectrum Refarming