Digital transformation for 2020 and beyond: A global telecommunications study

The paradigm shift to digital is well underway

The global telecoms industry landscape is changing faster than ever. Erosion of legacy revenue streams driven by over-the-top (OTT) competitors continues, forcing operators to consider new ways of remaining relevant to consumer and enterprise customers.

While many have embarked on journeys to become digital service providers, the sector remains vulnerable to quickening shifts in terms of technology cycles, competitor actions and customer needs.

About the report

Our 2017 survey drills down into perspectives from the industry’s CIO and CTO community in order to explore the role of IT and networks, and to examine how this is supporting long-term digital transformation.

We conducted 39 in-depth interviews with participants from 35 organizations, supported by insights and analysis from EY’s sector professionals and secondary research sources.

The 35 organizations taking part this year account for annual revenue of US$421 billion and an aggregate market capitalization of US$603 billion.

Survey findings

Looking across the views of the global telecoms industry leaders elicited in our research, eight key messages emerge strongly.

  1. Disruptive competition tops the list of industry challenges.
  2. Digital business models, customer experience and cost control lead the 2020 strategic agenda.
  3. The network dominates the near-term spending agenda, but a range of IT improvements are also being sought.
  4. Network capex is trending up but IT spending profiles vary.
  5. Confidence is rising in the digital services opportunity, yet caveats remain.
  6. Analytics and virtualization are the top innovation drivers, but legacy IT and a lack of skills are acting as brakes.
  7. Process automation leads the list of long-term IT enablers.
  8. The post-2020 landscape will be transformed by 5G.

Read the full report here.

EY Legal Services Contacts:




Richard Goold – Global Technology Law Leader