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Ovum has analyzed nearly 100 wholesale telecoms innovations launched by 70 different companies since 2011. Although a growing proportion of wholesale innovations depend on partnerships between carriers and companies from other fields, or on alliances between multiple carriers, a small number of wholesale players stand out as leading innovators in the market.

The same few names feature in wholesale innovation shortlists year after year

Innovation is at least as important in the wholesale market as it is in retail. Innovation enables wholesalers to differentiate their offerings for customers and to counter the commoditization of traditional wholesale services. Over the last eight years, Ovum’s Wholesale Telecoms team has researched innovations in the wholesale market. We have published our analysis of 99 shortlisted innovations launched by a total of 70 companies in our annual Wholesale Innovations Analyzers (see Appendix), with descriptions and critical independent analysis of each. 

Although may companies have developed new wholesale services or strategies internally, a growing number of wholesale innovations have been the result of partnerships between a carrier and a company in an adjacent market, or an alliance of several carriers working together. Deutsche Telekom is a prime example of a telco that has developed and launched wholesale innovations through partnerships or alliances. No other company has seen the innovations it has launched shortlisted in as many Wholesale Innovation Analyzer editions (seven out of a possible eight). Deutsche Telekom, together with the BT Group, also leads the league of innovations shortlisted, with 10 innovations each. 

Tata Communications joins Telstra in having eight innovations shortlisted in our analyses. What’s more, Tata Communications' innovations were rated most highly in 2013 and 2014, and in second position in 2011 and 2017. Innovations from Tata Communications, BT, and Orange have been shortlisted in five of the eight Wholesale Innovation Analyzer editions. 

Colt and PCCW Global have each been party to six innovations in our annual shortlists. Innovations involving Colt have topped the most recent two Wholesale Innovation Analyzers. The top-rated innovation announced in 2017 was Colt’s On Demand strategy. In 2018, the proof-of-concept trials of blockchain in inter-carrier settlement came out on top of all wholesale innovations. These trials were led by Colt and PCCW Global, in partnership with Clear Technologies, and developed under the aegis of the Global Leaders’ Forum (GLF). 

Of course, many other companies have launched innovative new services, technologies, strategies, and business models over the years, but these are the leading companies in terms of the number of innovations and the combination of their potential value, impact on the wider wholesale market, ease of use, and the degree of synergy with parent company strategies. In our experience, innovations that do not score highly for all these criteria are unlikely to succeed in the long term.


Further reading

2018 Wholesale Innovation Analyzer, GLB006-000028 (June 2019) 
2017 Wholesale Innovation Analyzer, GLB006-000027 (June 2019) 
Wholesale Innovations Update 2017, GLB006-000001 (November 2017) 
How Wholesalers Innovate, TE0012-000604 (July 2017)