Managing a declining Voice Market

Interview with Chief Sales Officer Tone Snellingen

Voice numbers around the world are going down. Pressure on revenue, margin and traffic is enormous. The clock is ticking. What is Telenor’s response to that development?

Telenor saw a growth in the voice volumes until Q1 2019. The different markets we are in have evolved differently over the past years. Scandinavia being very stable and a declining trend in Asia due to competition from the OTTs.

Since Telenor is a very roaming heavy company, we have been hit hard by Covid-19 and therefore seen reduced voice volumes since April 2020.

Telenor changed the Voice strategy in 2020 to focus on fewer, but most important voice partners in the industry. Those are the partners we trust to handle our roaming traffic when our retail customers are travelling and which provide us with the quality and the services required from our 182 mill retail customers worldwide.

With the decline of voice traffic, automating and simplifying processes are high on the agenda. We have re-negotiated agreements and all our capabilities are now cloud-based. We are also in the last phase of terminating our TDM platform. Telenor will keep a robust, simple and secure core network to deliver on the agility required to meet customer expectations.


What trends do you see as a consequence of the voice erosion in the market?

In my opinion the worst treat the wholesale industry has, is the challenge from the fraudsters. In a declining market, fraudsters has taken advantage of the situation and increase their activity.

Telenor has implemented a ‘Zero tolerance for fraud’ strategy and has developed a fraud protection systems and internal routines to secure that our customers and vendors are as less impacted by this unwanted activity as possible.

Proactively blocking of known fraudulent ranges, both as caller id’s and destinations, has been performed to secure that Telenor will act like a trustful partner to all our customers and vendors.

If a fraud incident should happen, we have developed very strong routines to stop payments towards the fraudsters. We also choose partners with the same non-tolerance which aim to stop the transactions.

We believe we have succeeded when we compare 2019 to 2020, as fraud attempts have reduced by 56% year-on-year. Since this is not the trend in the industry we firmly believe that the fraudsters have understood that our networks are more protected and not generating any income back to them.

At the same time the amounts related to fraud incidents has dropped even more significant.

In these stormy days when our industry are challenged both by declining volumes and by the fraudsters, Telenor has a responsibility to secure that our customers are able to communicate by delivering quality services.


Finally, how is Telenor preparing for a future that might not include Voice?

In a declining voice market we believe scale is more important than ever. In the Managed Service portfolio Telenor is promoting Voice in the offering. We believe more companies are considering their core competence and outsourcing voice due to the decline. Providers are shifting their focus away from international services to meet the requirements of their own end users.

We are expecting the market to implement VoLTE Roaming, which will challenge the voice numbers further. Telenor is enabling VoLTE roaming with the most important roaming partners to secure the quality of our customers when traveling.

Due to the sunsets of 2G and 3G and the domestic migration to VoLTE we are also prepared for VoLTE Interworking. By having IPX we can control the traffic 100% end to end unlike the OTTs.

Our strategy to focus on partnership goes hand-in-hand with the development of new services required for the future.