Q&A with Julio Beamonte, CEO, Telefónica International Wholesale Services
Julio Beamonte, Chief Executive Officer of Telefónica International Wholesale Services, talks to Capacity about his first impressions of the wholesale industry since taking up his role of CEO in 2019, and shares his view about the improvements carriers should focus on in the coming years, the key challenges for the sector and new opportunities he sees ahead for Latin America.
Q. With many years’ experience in the Telecommunications industry, specifically in the B2B sector, you took up the role of CEO of Telefónica International Wholesale Services at the beginning of 2019. What have been your first impressions of the wholesale market?
Firstly, I believe that wholesalers play a very important role in the telecommunications sector’s value chain. We have experience in handling large business volumes and possess global know-how about deploying services in our international network. Furthermore, additional capabilities such as IT integration, management of multiple connections and transactions, and worldwide customer relationships, provide wholesalers with invaluable expertise to be able to manage complex solutions.
Another important aspect to highlight is that the wholesale market is characterized by constant change and evolution. Right now, wholesalers are having to reinvent ourselves to stay relevant when our traditional products and services are being commoditized. We are redefining our strategies to take advantage of the benefits that digital transformation brings.
At Telefónica International Wholesale Services (TIWS) we have transformed our internal processes through automation and simplification to be more efficient and agile, whilst adding services to our portfolio that respond to our customers’ needs.
Q. In your opinion, what are the key improvements carriers should focus on in the next few years?
As carriers too I believe we must commit to digitalization and reinventing ourselves through innovation. We are in the digital era, and by leveraging technologies such as Network Function Virtualization (NFV) and Software Defined Networks (SDN) we can be more efficient and flexible to meet market demands.
For example, with the exponential growth in the number of connected devices that IoT will require, we will need to be able to offer higher capacities, lower latencies and continuous connectivity. This won’t be possible if wholesalers do not focus on achieving operational excellence and upgrading network assets. Specifically, in TIWS we have upgraded capacity x10 in all regions, deployed direct interconnection with all the main cloud providers and activated a centralized SDN Controller to automatically manage traffic flows in the network.
Digital transformation also means changing our interfaces and renewing the way we interact with our customers. Nowadays, customers want to consume services and products in a more dynamic and flexible way. As a result, we must ensure real-time provisioning and self-ordering through well-structured web portals and deliver a digital experience throughout our customers’ life cycle.
Q. What challenges do you think this sector will face?
The main challenge that the wholesale market is facing is achieving sustainable growth. Traditional revenue share has been disrupted; prices are declining while the demand is rising exponentially. Furthermore, traditional customers are evolving, and we are seeing the emergence of new players in the market that are requesting on-demand business models. I have mentioned the importance of business automation and network virtualization, and the work that TIWS is doing in this area however, in my opinion we cannot reach sustainable growth through operational excellence alone. We must also boost revenues by providing digital solutions and broadening our customer base.
Wholesalers need to be more flexible and develop new and tailored solutions with digital services leveraging new technologies. We need to move up the value chain, not only by offering value added services but also professional services that ensure we meet our customers’ needs and deliver an E2E solution. For instance, we can offer customers a solution that securely manages the interconnection of multiple locations through SD-WAN whilst integrating the connection to all their applications hosted with different Cloud Service Providers. On top of that we can add Unified Communications and data management via Big Data, providing even greater value for our customers.
Q. Now specifically in LATAM, what opportunities or trends do you see for wholesalers in this region?
Latin America has always been an important region for TIWS and there is no doubt that it continues to represent an exciting opportunity for wholesalers. We are seeing an increase in the demand for connectivity and mobile data services in the region which is consistent with the trends that we are witnessing in the rest of the world.
Digital transformation has disrupted the region as well and carriers should leverage this to become more efficient and dynamic. It also means there is an opportunity to offer digital services that combine multiple technologies such as Big Data, Blockchain, Cloud, etc.
More importantly, I believe that 5G, along with its enablers such as Edge Computing and Network Slicing, is where wholesalers will have the greatest opportunity of all. Emerging use cases for 5G will enable us to position ourselves as relevant players thanks to the capabilities we already possess.