EMC highlights opportunities for telcos

Personal data storage emerges as a potentially lucrative new business stream for operators

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By  Roger Field in Istanbul Published  April 1, 2009

Telecom operators are ideally placed to benefit from a burgeoning demand for content backup and management from consumers and businesses, but could miss out unless they move quickly, according to Chuck Hollis, global marketing CTO with EMC Corp.

“It is just a minor extension of their existing business model, they have the network, they have the billing relationship and in many cases they have the trust of the customer,” Hollis told CommsMEA at EMC’s Telecoms Summit for the Middle East, North West Africa and Turkey.

“A lot of it is to do with self perception. So many people in telecommunications think of themselves as the network and device people as oppose to seeing the value of moving information.”

Hollis compared the position of telecom operators to that of banks a century ago. Just as banks transformed themselves from “buildings with vaults in” to become financial services companies, so telecom operators must shift their business models to offer more sophisticated services such as content storage and management.

By making this transition, operators stand to benefit from greater customer retention and new revenue streams, according to Hollis. “For me to switch network provider is pretty easy. But for me to switch from an operator who owns all of my information is more difficult. It’s a very sticky relationship.

“We are advising telecom companies to start establishing trust relationships and trust brands rather than just cool technologies. Banks market on trust and if you don’t trust them you won’t give them your money. If you don’t trust a telecoms company, you are not going to give them your information.”

But while Hollis said he is seeing interest from operators in these services, many may fail to benefit from the sector because they are focused on so many other areas of their business, such as the need to implement fibre networks and next generation networks.

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