Out-running the bear

A bear jumps out of a bush and starts chasing two hikers. They both start running for their lives, but then one of them stops to put on his running shoes.
His friends says, “What are you doing? You can’t out-run a bear!”
His friend replies, “I don’t have to out-run the bear. I only have to out-run you!

Let’s say the two friends represent competing telcos and the OTT (Over the Top) players represent the bear. The telcos have an average NPS (Net Promoter Score) of 6 and the OTT players peak at around 70 NPS to represent this speed advantage.

Does this analogy hold true? Do the telcos only need to out-run each other to succeed or will the bear just gobble them up one by one because “you can’t out-run a bear.”

If we look at this in relation to the OSI stack, if the telcos provide L1-3 and the OTT provide L4-7 does the bear only gobble them all up if they take over L1-3 too (and hence are no longer just OTT)?

OSI stack
Courtesy of www.escotal.com.

To follow on from yesterday’s blog on the value of connections we can consider two levels of connection – the telcos are typically selling connections at L3 (network layer) whilst OTT is selling connections at L7 (application layer).

I equate this to layer 3 selling to the HOW whilst layer 7 (if done well) is selling to the WHY. Check out Simon Sinek’s famous “Start with why” talk to see why this is allowing the OTT play to generate out-sized revenues and NPS scores.

So if telcos and their OSS want to out-run the bear, they need to better understand and deliver to the WHY of customer connections, not just the HOW. In addition to the content and applications play, solutions like microservices, APIs, IoT platforms (not just carriage) and others could present this opportunity.

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