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We help telecom companies and business units on critical strategic issues, ranging from which markets to target to which capabilities will yield a sustainable competitive advantage.

Global and regional telecom players face an increasing number of critical challenges, from traffic monetization to capital and labor productivity in mature markets to intensified competition in developing and emerging markets. We help a wide range of participants to understand these trends, including equipment and systems manufacturers, fixed- and mobile-service providers, and content and applications players. Our global practice serves incumbent companies in both mature and emerging markets, as well as new entrants in rapidly evolving markets in Asia and Africa. Given this broad perspective, McKinsey's team can provide companies with uniquely informed strategic insight.

What we do

Our strategy work reflects the complex issues faced by telecom participants, and we bring demonstrable expertise in:

  • Corporate and portfolio strategy: More than 90 percent of telcos' growth is determined by the dynamics of markets in which they compete. Accordingly, we help companies answer the most important strategic question—where to play?—by analyzing growth, profitability, and capital intensity of international and adjacent markets.
  • Business-unit strategy: Successful business unit strategies combine true sources of competitive advantage with privileged, granular insight to beat the market. We help operators identify pockets of opportunities and how to capture them—including the level of commitment required in the boardroom as well as by the frontline managers.
  • Innovation strategy: Fewer than 10 percent of innovations become commercially successful, yet innovation is one of the greatest sources of competitive advantage, especially in telecom. We help companies develop the governance, processes, and skills needed to achieve continuous innovation at scale.
  • Regulatory strategy: Recent policy and regulatory regime changes illustrate how much of telecom companies' value depends upon regulation. Whether it is meeting net neutrality standards, dissecting government's role in building new generation networks, or analyzing proposed taxes, McKinsey helps clients anticipate, understand and develop strategies to operate within regulatory environments.

Who we are

The 250 partners who lead McKinsey's Telecom Practice bring broad strategy experience as well as specialized industry expertise in subsectors or organization functions and capabilities. Our strategy teams draw on McKinsey's expertise and assets in areas such as corporate finance, marketing and sales to provide operators with comprehensive support.

Examples of our work

  • restructuring business portfolios to diagnose strengths and weaknesses and identify ways to maximize value creation
  • discovering ways to better leverage corporate or business-unit assets and capabilities for greater enterprise synergy and competitive impact
  • identifying the right mix of distinctive business, organizational, and technical capabilities needed to execute strategy effectively

Featured capabilities

Our insights into winning strategies in telecom and, more generally, global business dynamic can be found in a variety of publications, including:

  • Global Forces, research that incorporates original analysis and insight from more than 1,000 executives to identify five forces that will profoundly affect the global economy and their implications for global companies
  • The Granularity of Growth, based upon proprietary research and written by three McKinsey strategists who dissect how to identify sources of growth in an era of hypercompetition and hyperglobalization

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