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  • Telecom Consultant Urges Attitude Change
Nov 2003
FAIRFAX, Va., Nov. 6 -- The US telecommunications industry needs to embrace different views, approaches and attitudes to reposition the communications industry for growth, said Alfred T. Mockett, chairman and CEO of consulting firm American Management Systems Inc., in his keynote address at the Yankee Group 2003 Telecom Industry Forum, held this week in Arlington, Va.

"The problems this industry is facing are not unique, nor do they require truly unique solutions," said Mockett. "We must adapt successful, relevant solutions employed by carriers in other countries as well as ones that have worked for other industries." He said those lessons can be applied to inspire a US telecom revolution by improving how carriers serve their customers, manage costs, operate internally and interact with colleagues.

Mockett said US carriers can also learn from the European wireless industry's experience to prepare for wireless number portability (WNP) and turn the US WNP mandate, beginning Nov. 24, into an advantage.
"European carriers saw churn rates rise, but instead of simply rolling out customer retention offers or ratcheting up advertising campaigns they identified their more profitable customers and focused on churn management processes to retain them," he said.

He also urged wireline providers to examine how the wireless data industry -- particularly in Europe -- is delivering new services, adopting new marketing approaches to individual customer segments and entering partnerships with their competitors.

"European wireless operators are riding the coattails of consumer demand created every day by advertisers and entertainment providers," Mockett said. "They have realized the best ideas for new services are not necessarily being generated by their own companies. The market spend and demand creation is stimulated on someone else's nickel -- so why not be agile and quick to strike deals with third parties to your own advantage?"

Mockett also said the financial services industry can be a role model for how to address challenges in the telecom industry. He noted that major stock brokerage houses were initially reluctant to embrace the Internet as a means to serve customers but quickly adjusted their business strategy to stay in tune with market changes and in touch with customers.

"The happy ending to this story is the titans of Wall Street became the cutting-edge leaders of online investing and banking," said Mockett. "They still have their customers, but the relationship is on different terms. The moral is to look at market change not as a nuisance but as an opportunity."

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