How mobile operators can still dominate the cloud

14 October 2014 | Mark Dawson


Mark Dawson

Blog Author | Broadband World Forum; Head of production

Telecoms firms may be arriving late to the cloud market, but it is not too late for them to dominate the space and win business customers.

Telecoms firms may be arriving late to the cloud market, but it is not too late for them to dominate the space and win business customers.

While Microsoft, IBM and Amazon continue to lead the growth in cloud infrastructure services, mobile operators can still play an integral part in the arena if they take a managed services approach. In fact, if telecom operators provide managed services for communications, why not provide managed services for the cloud too?

This is according to Eduardo Mendez Polo, head of IT, cloud & low cost at Telefónica, who believes operators are late to the table but that this is because they have all had different priorities.

“The cloud market is very complicated,” he says. “There isn’t a single market and the tough fight is for telcos to provide a single solution that will lure businesses away from the internet cloud providers. Things are changing, though, and we are now starting to have a strong presence in the big enterprise.”

The managed approach
It seems that offering a managed solution will allow telco firms to adapt to the needs of their customers and build on the established relationship. Knowing about customer needs already puts telcos in an advantageous position compared with internet players, which is the most important strength that mobile operators have in the arena. There’s no doubt that operators understand their customers’ businesses already and it puts them in a great position to identify the best solution from the right service through to the right technology.

In order to dominate the cloud market, operators will need to look to collaboration – or indeed acquisition – as this can often be best for the business and customer. While an operator’s own solutions can work, going via a third party or acquisition might make more sense, especially for those that may not have the capabilities themselves.

Key to a sound managed services offer is the notion that the service goes beyond simple speed, which is something that internet sellers rely on as their main selling point. Operators should offer an end-to-end, whole-level service to businesses, highlighting important factors such as security, service level and ability, as well as the provision to offer customers services above and beyond pure infrastructure.

Convincing CIOs
Mobile operators can create strong platforms and compete with players like Microsoft and IBM, but the biggest challenge will be convincing the CIO – and there is still a way to go for every cloud services provider.

We were talking about the cloud seven years ago, but now we are still seeing that many companies are not going ahead, or are just pushing small pieces of IT to the cloud. The job is for operators to convince CIOs and give them confidence that they can be their first option.

As a communications customer, they already know they put responsibility in the hands of telcos, so why not with the cloud?