Recently, Bharti Airtel demarcated its enterprise offerings with a special name called Airtel Business. The company claims that this will resonate their work in business segment.
Yet another telecom giant Vodafone which is a relatively late entrant into enterprise space, expanded its offerings to fixed line services couple of months back. “There is a lot of interest in our fixed line business,” claimed Naveen Chopra, director of enterprise and carrier business of Vodafone India.
These telecom operators with strong consumer businesses, claim to have an edge in their enterprise offerings as well, with their integrated play across segments. Established consumer branding also helps these telecom majors gain acceptance in consumer business as well.
“An enterprise is made up of employees who are in the end, the consumers. Now, only a small percentage use BlackBerry, but ahead more will. The product suite is now more in the hands of the employees,” said Najib Khan, chief marketing officer of Airtel.
As more and more enterprises go for connectivity offerings which go beyond fixed lines, voice and high speed connectivity within the office, these players will have a bigger pie to play on. “We can unleash the potential with technological solutions. Like sales force automation and field force automation, we can offer connectivity anytime and anywhere, along with voice,” said Khan.
Benoy C S, director of telecom practice at Frost & Sullivan believes that entry into a mature market like enterprise business offers these players with stable revenue. “Enterprise market has lesser amount of churn than the consumer business. Everyone looks at incremental revenue and allows to monetise network capabilities to the maximum.,” he said. He expects other telecom operators who are strong in the consumer business to enter enterprise segment, as a part of natural progression.
Chopra says that the enterprise business was the natural next step for Vodafone. And that it is the layer that sits on the strengths of the existing consumer business to offer solutions to the enterprise customers. “Standalone enterprise business players find it tough to operate as they don't play in the complete total telecommunications domain.” he said.
The suite of services to enterprises include machine to machine (M2M) solutions, leased lines, MPLS virtual private networks, office wireline voice, co-location amongst others. The size of all these offerings in the enterprise segment account to around Rs 68,000 crore per annum.
Airtel and Vodafone also have highly efficient licenced technologies which will leveraged for enterprise consumers too. Airtel has already made its plans clear to target businesses as a part of its 4G services on LTE platform, that it currently offers in Kolkata and Bangalore. Vodafone India too has 3G Solutions for Business.
Both these companies have now set their sights on small and medium sized businesses (SMB) as well. “This business is growing one-and-a-half times faster. SME is under-served but they are also spread across the country. We have zonal offices in 60-70 cities and there is a lot of infrastructure on the ground to help us reach out to them effectively.” said Chopra.
Khan says that businesses from SMBs is growing at 20 per cent year-on-year. “We are targeting the top 30,000 of around 100,000 SMBs. The adoption is faster with medium sized businesses for managed services and cloud services,” he said.