As revenue per bit continues to decline, the investment climate for connectivity businesses remains challenging. However, the current Covid-19 pandemic illustrates the vital importance of high quality connectivity. Cost management, in terms of OPEX and CAPEX, has been a key priority, but this can only go so far. Revenue growth is required for sustainable business models, which could come either from the provision of enhanced connectivity services or from new digital services targeted at specific markets. What assistance can the investment and banking community provide, through innovative corporate finance models?
There is also the changing M&A landscape: whilst we still see a number of horizontal acquisitions (buying competitors as the CSP market commoditises), there is growing interest in vertical acquisitions – with service providers expanding into new businesses and markets.
Furthermore, The political interest in 5G intensified to new levels when governments across the world stepped in to question – and in cases prohibit – the use of core network infrastructure from China’s Huawei. Can the industry expect to be subject to further scrutiny and interference in the near future? And trade disputes to one side, how will other geopolitical factors impact the evolution of the telecoms industry? What will be the role of global regulation?
Nik Willetts, CEO, TM Forum
Mike Conradi, Partner, DLA Piper
Duarte Begonha, Partner, McKinsey & Company
Jean-Pierre Bienaimé, Chairman, Institute of Economic & Social Research on Telecommunications (IREST)