Wholesale voice in 2018 will be about adaptability and creating new value from the interaction between new and traditional services. It is still possible to have a voice businesses that can grow, add value for customers and thrive in the long-term. And, there are still massive opportunities in the voice market in 2018 – they just don’t look like they used to.
In fact, in my two decades in the voice industry, I’ve never seen a market that is more dynamic and that is more wide open and full of possibilities. In the old days of voice, there was only so much you could do with a voice minute. Today, it feels like voice can be a part of any application or any service imaginable. This is why I see three big opportunities really defining the market in 2018:
- Evolving traditional voice – Offering a comprehensive suite of solutions and a depth of expertise is more important than geographic reach. Wholesale voice providers should evolve their businesses to focus on enabling profitability and solving challenges. Today’s customers want consultancy and support rather than just A to B connectivity. It is mind set shift, but one that creates long-term customers that depend on not just destinations but fraud solutions, routing engines and a whole platform of solutions focused on profitability.
- Enabling UCC – Service provider customers need to differentiate their UCC offerings to compete. With the right wholesale partner, they can add capabilities and benefit from deep voice expertise. Partners can help to build their footprint globally while also enabling the integration of multiple UCC platforms into their offering. Service providers can also lean on their partners to create new efficiencies and help them to terminate traffic outside of their UCC clouds. Wholesale can be the key to removing the limits on their voice offerings.
- Preparing for the future – There are growing opportunities in supporting roaming for voice over LTE (VoLTE), Machine-to-Machine Communications (M2M) and the Internet of Things (IoT). These technologies have been evolving slowly on a local level but will eventually have applications that demand fully integrated and seamless roaming environments. From connected cars through to international artificial intelligence platforms, voice players with experience in global roaming will be able to support limitless communications. At the same time, we are seeing calling and messaging being incorporated into an infinite number of applications and services. Today, voice services can be part of any solution and often need termination on the PSTN.
While the word “wholesale” is out of fashion in carrier business, it still underpins global communications, and expertise in wholesale is essential for enabling new services. Expertise in voice is still in demand although business models are changing. In 2018, the voice players who will be successful will need to continually evolve their strategies to adapt to the new business models.
Christian Michaud will be representing both Tata Communications and i3forum at Capacity Asia. He will be moderating the panel “Next Steps for IPX: VoLTE and RCS and Beyond” at i3forum’s conference on 13th December.