The bank, the electricity provider, health insurance, housing, alarms… More and more services are associated with the telephone number. Tired of the wear and tear of years of fighting to snatch customers from each other, telecommunications companies have been entering another battle for some time. “Services are no longer sold, but quality, security, trust with the aim of increasing profitability per customer compared to the mere growth in the number of customers,” says Jesús Martín Tello, partner of Telco and Media at NTT Data.
It all began by linking the contracting of the telecommunications service to the contents. The famous convergent packages, in which Telefónica was a pioneer, linked fixed and mobile telephone lines with soccer, cinema… Then the alarms arrived and home, health, and life insurance joined. Here are business lines such as Orange Seguros, Movistar Salud, Doctor Go (Yoigo), among others. The operators also act as a bank, for loans such as Movistar Money, Money Go or with all services such as Orange Bank. More recently, some have even become energy providers, such as Pepeenergy, Pepephone’s electricity company, or EnegyGo (Yoigo). “There are many companies around the world, not only in the telecommunications sector, who are betting on this trend. For example, Softbank already obtains 20% of its income from the sale of services and, along the same lines, the Japanese group Rakuten. It may be the outlet of the telcos, but also in this field the competition is wide”, points out Jesús Martín.
The telcos insist on demanding equal rules of the game for the internet giants
At the moment, the operators that provide services in Spain do not detail the contribution of these lines of business in their income statements. “It is known that in a highly polarized market like Spain there is a larger premium customer segment than in other European countries and that it yields one of the highest average revenues per customer on the continent,” says Carlos Winzer, senior vice president of Moody’s Investors. Service.
But it’s not enough. With their eyes set on this new battlefield, the large Spanish operators joined their voices last week to demand, once again, that the rules of this game be fairer. They want the big Internet platforms that use their networks to do business, and with which they now compete to offer increasingly personalized services, have the same tax commitments.
The difficulty of legislating the uses of the network
“It is very difficult for this to happen since outside of Spain the telecommunications companies are not as strong as they are here. In other countries, obtaining legislation that obliges Internet network users to pay is very complicated”, warns Esteve Amirall, professor in the Department of Operations, Innovation and Data Sciences at ESADE. “But what if you instead put someone else making a home video and uploading it online?
Where is the limit? The telcos as they are known today will end up being a mere provider of a basic service such as gas or water. If they don’t want to end up mediating the price, they will have to rethink their business a lot”, predicts Amirall.