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Integration with Existing Technology is Biggest Barrier to Digitalization for Telco Operators

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  • Over 70% of telcos would struggle to integrate digital channels
  • Key concerns are short term profit loss, data security and poor customer experience

London, March 16 2021 – Seven in 10 telco operators say that integration with legacy technology is the number one barrier to digital transformation, with concerns of privacy and data not far behind. That’s according to a new report from the Technology Innovation Council commissioned by mobile technology specialists, Upstream.

Entitled “The Road to Digital”, the report provides a unique glimpse into how telco operators are preparing for digitalization in the wake of a global pandemic that has seen demand for digital service soar. Despite more than 65 percent of telcos developing a clear roadmap to digitalization, with 75 percent ready to increase their investment in digital channels in 2021 and beyond, many still rely heavily on physical channels to sell their products and services to customers.

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The Road to Digital: Telcos 2021

The report, which delves into telco digitalization progress region-by-region, ranks concern around technology integration and the management of security and data as the primary obstacles to pursuing a digital-centric future.

Concerns for profit loss and poor customer experience
73 percent of companies said that integrating new platforms and technologies with existing channels would be too difficult an undertaking and may result in short-term gaps in top-line profits as customer experiences become disrupted.

Data security and compliance apprehension
54 percent of telcos claimed that, while implementing newer technologies would be manageable, complying with modern security standards and regulations and becoming more vulnerable to cyber attacks would make the path to digitalization more difficult.

The skills gap
Only one in three operators worldwide say that finding the right talent is hindering their plans for digital development. The majority of these businesses are located in emerging markets such as Latin America, Africa and the Middle East. This highlights a pronounced skills gap between developed and emerging markets, with the latter still struggling to find the skills needed to facilitate digitalization.

Investment
Only 46 percent stated that cost was an issue, suggesting that the path to digitalization is desirable and investment is ready. According to the report, a surprisingly low number of telcos saw ROI as a barrier, with only 4 out of every 10 expressing concern that a return on their investment might not be easily established. Given that telecommunications is traditionally a very ROI-focussed industry, this suggests a great deal of confidence in the path toward digitalization itself if the barriers referenced above can be overcome.

Data from the report implies that a phased approach toward digitalization is in the best interests of telcos worldwide in order to ensure interoperability between technology and services, and maintain a seamless customer experience.

Upstream CEO, Dimitris Maniatis, commented: “Telecom operators have experienced the greatest challenge in a generation, but that challenge has brought with it great opportunities. By working hard around the clock to keep families, friends and businesses connected while meeting unprecedented demand for connectivity, operators have seen first-hand what can be gained from digital transformation. By bringing their long-term plans for digitalization forward, they can do more to help and connect communities while dramatically improving customer engagement, automation and profitability.”

-ENDS-

About the Report & Research
The Report, titled: “The Road to Digital: How telcos are migrating from physical to digital to broaden revenue in 2021 and beyond”, highlights the growing opportunity for telcos to grow their customer base and broaden their revenue streams throughout the COVID-19 crisis if they are willing to embrace digital. The study for the “Road to Digital” report was conducted by the Technology Innovation Council (TIC), commissioned by Upstream. Executives from 56 telco operators worldwide were asked, via questionnaires, about their plans for digital transformation. Each provided insight into the benefits and challenges of digitalization, how they use data generated from digital sales, and how they create revenues from physical and digital channels. Regions covered are the Asia Pacific (APAC), Europe, Latin America (LATAM), North America, and the Middle East/Africa (ME/A).

About Upstream
Upstream is the go-to technology partner for enterprises in emerging markets seeking to achieve digital growth. As a leader in mobile technology -for the past 20 years- we provide innovative solutions that speak to 1.2 billion consumers. We help our partners unlock new revenue streams boosting their customer engagement and acquisitions, driving conversions and reducing churn. Our end-to-end solutions invigorate the end customers’ experience and engagement via Upstream’s personalized digital journeys and omnichannel approach. We make migration to digital sales only a matter of weeks with no need for upfront investments. And all this with a unique added layer of digital transaction security powered by our award-winning security platform, Secure-D, driving fraud-free revenue and end-user protection. Upstream currently works with more than 60 companies in Telco, Insurance and Retail in over 45 countries in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and South-East Asia.

About TIC
The Technology Innovation Council (TIC), part of Sonus Research, is a unique research initiative run by research analysts from the telecommunications and technology industries. Members of TIC are telecommunications executives who provide insight into business and technology trends.

For more information please contact:
Chevaan Seresinhe
Sonus PR for Upstream, UK
E: [email protected]
P: +44 20 3751 0330

Sofia Marinou
Upstream Corporate Communications
E: [email protected]
[email protected]
P: +30210 6618532
+30210 6618507

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