April 4, 2023

On Video: Swisscom Outlines the Challenge of Going from Telco to Techco

Peter van der Lee, Tribe Chief at Swisscom, discusses the company's transition from telco to techco, becoming a cloud-native organization and Netcracker's role in the transformation.

Traditional mobile network operators face a choice: remain in the infrastructure game or reinvent themselves as technology companies. Swisscom is choosing the latter. In this exclusive video, its Tribe Chief explains why.

Over the last 30 years, the world has gone mobile. There are now nearly six billion mobile subscribers. This has made telecoms firms among the largest and highest worth companies on the planet, turning over vast sums and employing millions of people. 

But now many telcos are rethinking their fundamentals.

In short, they don’t want to be telecom operators any more. They want to be technology companies.

The migration to standalone 5G is making this transition from telco to techco possible. The new 5G network core is virtual and software-defined. This reduces the dependence on physical assets – towers, cables and antennas – or at least commoditizes them.

Knowing this, investors value techcos more highly than telcos. They think hyperscalers, Internet firms, OTTs and SaaS providers, among others,are better equipped to monetize in the future because they are agile and quick to identify opportunities.

Telcos, by contrast, are weighed down by their commitment to infrastructure and their complex legacy practices built up over decades.

But in recent months, many telcos have started to restructure. They are breaking up their operations, selling off component parts in order to move focus away from commoditized assets and towards more profitable services.

Swisscom is one of the leaders in this area. It has spoken extensively about its plans in presentations like this one

However, moving from telco to techco is a major undertaking. It requires a huge and disruptive migration to new IT ecosystems, and with this comes a need to change the internal culture to be more collaborative and less ‘top down’.

Swisscom has been working closely with Netcracker on its techco ambitions. Netcracker is providing professional services and OSS to support converged B2C and B2B services as Swisscom transitions toward a public cloud-based OSS.

In an exclusive video interview with Netcracker, Peter van der Lee, Tribe Chief at Swisscom, talked about the power of the partnership: “We are investing heavily in the IT challenge because we strongly believe we need to make the transition from telco to techco.”

“Cloud transformation is a very important topic for us. Netcracker forms an important part of our OSS IT landscape. They help us not just on technology but also with their know-how on the architecture we need… the relationship is really good.”

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