IBM Survey: Telecom Executives Still Clueless

clueless.jpgTelecom executives can be as clueless as a guy who think it is attractive to wear a Bluetooth headset on a date. According to a new telecom industry survey conducted by IBM, industry execs know that change is coming but they cannot bring themselves to discard their old ways. A full 69 percent “expect business model transformation to be the primary source of value over the next five years.” Yet when asked where their priorities lie, they are, in order:

Network coverage (52 percent)
Customer reach (45 percent)
Customer knowledge (22 percent)
Customer service (16 percent)
Ease of use (11 percent)
Device control/management (8 percent)

Those numbers should be reversed. Network coverage and reach are still important, but that is how telecom companies beat their rivals in the last century. In this century, they are going to have to do better than that. Personalized services, consumer control, and ease of use will win the day.

I guess it should not come as any surprise that telecom executives (both traditional and mobile) do not put the customer first, but knowing more about their customers and what those customers want should be a priority for more than 22 percent of them. And for all the talk of open networks and open devices, the fact is that only eight percent think they should give customers more control over their communications devices. They will eventually learn that such control is no longer theirs to give.

And the knee-jerk response of 58 percent of them on how to exploit emerging advertising revenues. Partner with Google or Yahoo. Here’s a clue for any telecom manager reading this: Google and Yahoo have yet to figure out how to fully exploit mobile or voice ads themselves, so they might not be able to help you out.

(Photo by FamilyofFun)