The telcos of the world are in an extremely difficult position. They haven't been able to build service bundles or brands that satisfy consumers in the same way as the tech and media giants of the world who, ironically, could not have succeeded without telco infrastructure. However telcos are retreating from markets and are disposing of assets here, there and everywhere.
In addition, piecemeal and partial regulation poses challenges to a global telecoms model, while those specific rules often do not apply to OTTs. This difference in regulation is undoubtedly one of the reasons why we're seeing such disparity of outcomes.
I recall listening to Timotheus Hoettges, CEO of Deutsche Telekom, at the FT-ETNO summit in 2018 talking about how infrastructure is king, not content. The future of the telcos, like their history, lies in infrastructure. After all, 5G is bound to be a key enabler of our connected world and we can't achieve the levels of connectivity we need without top notch infrastructure.
Take a look at Nic Fildes' excellent opinion piece in the Financial Times (requires subscription), in which I am grateful to be quoted.
I will be at Davos this month, and Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next month with an international cohort of colleagues from across CMS. Please do reach out if you'd care to debate this!
OTTs like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Sky Go have mushroomed globally. Higher revenue streams and better control of data have helped to propel OTTs forward, but it is their difference in regulation compared with telecoms that has caused the disparity of outcomes.