Staying growth-centric in an evolving industry
Eric Cevis at VPS maps out how mixing innovation and traditional services creates a strong blueprint for a wholesale future.
Recent years have seen considerable transformation in the global telecoms industry, amid digitalisation and rising demand for bandwidth. With margins under pressure at the same time, providers increasingly require a versatile approach to remain on a growth path.
“The current challenge in the global wholesale industry is how to continue to drive a growth narrative,” says Eric Cevis, president of Verizon Partner Solutions (VPS) in the global wholelsale segment. “At the lower ARPU you get from some wireless services that are replacing wireline services, you have to sell exponentially that much more at the lower price.”
One of the keys, he says, is continued investment in technologies and up-and-coming services like fixed-wireless access (FWA) and IoT, alongside value-added above-the-network capabilities like cybersecurity. That type of coordinated drive in different areas allows Verizon to keep its offering fresh with multiple options and integrated services.
“To grow in the industry, you have to continue to hold onto your legacy products at the same time as you evolve towards a more current suite of services,” says Cevis.
Strings to the bow
On the FWA front, the rapid nationwide expansion and uptake of the technology has been spurred since US operators widened 5G services into the mid-range C-band spectrum early last year. A further boost came this summer when Verizon announced that it now has access to the full amount of spectrum awarded in the band, four months ahead of schedule.
This allows the company to more than double – and in some areas even triple – the bandwidth available to customers via its 5G Ultra Wideband network, which now reaches more than 200 million people across the company’s home market.
Opportunities are also expanding for supporting private 5G networks for customers, with Verizon announcing a five-year partnership earlier this year to deliver a managed private wireless service for the US National Football League. “The user experience is immersive, allowing coach-to-coach communication on a private 5G network,” says Cevis.
A further technology he cites as having big potential is multi-access edge computing. “With MEC, you’re taking latency out of the network, and you can support things like autonomous cars and robotic surgery,” he says. “That’s great if you can have an expert surgeon working on you regardless of where you sit in the world.”
Changes in the industry require flexibility in processes too. In that regard, VPS has been focusing on APIs to aid automation for customers in ordering services, tracking their orders and other activities. “It’s about customer-experience APIs to make certain you can provide a platform or portal for customers to order and track more and more products,” says Cevis.
Underpinning such innovations, VPS is focusing on providing a strong suite of security services to ensure that customers can keep ahead of the growing cybersecurity threats faced by providers the world over. These include its DDoS Shield, a cloud-based service aimed at tackling today’s sophisticated and high-volume DDoS attacks, and its Network Detection and Response tools geared towards proactively monitoring the threat landscape in real time.
“What we try to do is make sure we get in front of those threats so that the end customer was never even aware that there was a potential attack taking place,” says Cevis.
As much as diversity is becoming a growing necessity in services and technology, it is a core focus for VPS on the people side too. As chair of the Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging working group at industry group the Global Leaders’ Forum, this is a subject close to Cevis’s heart.
He emphasises that this is important far beyond the societal benefits, highlighted by the GLF’s range of papers that it has been releasing on different aspects of diversity. “Not only is inclusion the right thing to do, but it makes business sense because business grows based on having a diverse culture,” he says.
By focusing on these multiple forward-looking business goals, while keeping an eye on the opportunities that remain in its traditional core areas, VPS believes it creates a strong blueprint for things to come.