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BLOG: The network of trust in emerging markets

Vinod Kumar | Oct. 12, 2012
Fresh businesses opportunities are coupled with concerns about communications infrastructure.

Trust. It's a word that is thrown around with a fair amount of abandon in the telecoms industry. In our business, we've seen that trust in telecoms takes on a whole new level of importance in emerging markets. It is a gateway. It can open businesses up to things on a global scale which makes the relationship you have with your supplier all the more unique, diverse and challenging.

It's all about management. When you enter into an emerging market, you have to manage your risks and assess the existing communications within the market. You also need to manage your relationship with the local and regional service providers. Each emerging market offers unique incentives but it is the markets where you have reliable communications and a partner that you can trust that are truly attractive.

I spend a lot of time travelling and seeing how each of these emerging markets are evolving. From Brazil to Russia or Africa to China, you see market dynamics that don't fit into nicely defined boxes, stereotypes and quick to assess characteristics. My point is, when you go looking for the common thread that runs across emerging markets, you face a bit of a challenge.

Need for infrastructure

When I step back and look at some research we commissioned, the thread I see reinforced yet again across these very diverse markets is the continued need for infrastructure.

Eighty-one percent of the businesses we spoke to are genuinely interested in, or are already, working in emerging markets. They see very clearly that emerging markets offer businesses fresh opportunities. However, this is matched with concerns about the communications infrastructure in these regions. Thirty-eight percent of the business leaders we spoke to said that a lack of a reliable communications infrastructure made them hesitant about jumping straight in and doing business in an emerging market.

I always find this an interesting dynamic. The opportunities in emerging markets are magnetic but they are tainted by the doubts around the reliability of communications. This provides an exciting challenge and an opportunity for telecoms service providers to step up to the mark and prove that the reliability of their service is not in doubt. They have the opportunity to unlock the value for businesses.

Vinod Kumar is the managing director and chief executive officer, Tata Communications.


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