How partnerships are driving the wholesale marketplace forward


As the wholesale marketplace continues to evolve and businesses look further towards collaboration in order to drive our sector forward, International Telecoms Week (ITW) has become an increasingly important event.

By the first week of May, businesses are deeply entrenched in implementing their 2018 strategies and for the wholesale segment this seems to centre around forging key partnerships and also taking more of an enterprise-style approach to business.

Wholesale propositions are now more reflective of the customer oriented practices that have been brought about by the large digital native players; such as the Netflix’s and the Airbnb’s of the world. They are being formed by taking a more holistic look at a business problem, as opposed to simply selling someone an Ethernet line and not asking questions about how this cable forms a greater part of their strategy.

This new approach to wholesale also sees far more collaboration than ever before. One key partnership that led to an important Proof of Concept (PoC) for Colt, and we think the industry, was born through this event. In March, Colt embarked on a blockchain PoC in partnership with PCCW Global and technology start-up Clear, which utilised blockchain to speed up the settlement process for wholesale voice traffic.

Both Colt and PCCW Global are members of the ITW Global Leaders’ Forum (GLF), where discussions on blockchain and other emerging technologies have featured heavily in recent times, and it was in this forum that the partnership was cemented. This is just one example of how Colt is partnering with others to not only test technologies such as blockchain, but also to understand how such technologies could shake up our industry in a positive way.

This year already feels as though it’s shifted from having many discussions about how technological advances can drive our industry forward, to people actually testing, trialling and putting their money where their mouth is.

For Colt, the blockchain PoC wasn’t the only one that we’ve been involved in this year. We also recently partnered with Verizon to showcase a two-way inter carrier Software Defined Network (SDN) network orchestration for the first time.

This isn’t just about Colt blowing its own horn – we’re not the only one undertaking such initiatives. There are many conversations happening around the industry and within the GLF about how more can be done. This really shows me that the industry, particularly the wholesale environment, is all facing the same way.

We’re all trying to utilise technologies such as SDN, blockchain and AI to try and revolutionise how we do business. It’s exciting, because when we’re all working together, we can push each other to be better and deliver better solutions for our customers. It also allows companies in this sector to show their true value. This is when we go beyond simply being service providers, and take a more advisory and leadership role. And in this new world of digital transformation, that’s exactly where Telco’s need to be.

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