Mobile service providers are experiencing a technology and business transformation, attempting to grow past their connectivity legacy into enterprise vertical services. Although discussions around the enterprise vertical opportunity and industry alliances are in full swing during 2018, telcos have yet to truly address innovation as a key component of their strategy.
ABI Research has attempted to benchmark telco innovation and understand whether telcos are indeed innovating or becoming complacent compared with their suppliers and Webscale pioneers. ABI Research has selected top-20 mobile service providers and used the following criteria to rank them:
- Patent portfolios and efficiency: overall patent applications, publications and what percentage of patents are granted
- Standards contributions: 3GPP involvement in terms of approved Change Requests and rapporteurs
- Acquisitions and investments: for connectivity and non-connectivity companies
- R&D spend: how much telcos spend on internal R&D
- Open source: contributions to the OpenStack project
The Telco Innovation Benchmark outlined top telcos that ranked highest among these areas and outlined which world regions are leading in terms of overall innovation.