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How CSPs can build a marketplace to last

Marketplaces are generating a lot of buzz these days, promising revenue growth for communications service providers while allowing them to grow and thrive in the modern digital landscape. Emboldened by emerging IoT and 5G services, many of the world’s largest carriers have significant interest in transforming themselves into telco marketplaces.

Unlocking unexplored values, 40% of the world's top 30 brands now platform businesses, moving CSPs from being providers of telecoms and ICT services to true creators of digital innovation.

There is an “innovate or perish” side to this too: current connectivity provision and product bundling will not satisfy customer needs in this hyper-connected world, and 78% of CSPs cite keeping control of the customer as the top driver for developing a marketplace. 

While marketplaces encourage the incubation of a variety of new services and revenue models, CSPs need to develop a long-term strategy to ensure they operate in a marketplace that can evolve.

A marketplace that thrives

Becoming a “digital lifestyle provider” as opposed to just a CSP is the necessary change the industry is going to witness thanks to marketplaces. With changes in consumer demands, it’s tempting for CSPs to want to meet every single need and solve every problem for consumers. CSPs need to shift their focus on delivering simplicity with customers in mind. 



Marketplaces are a strategic investment in the way a CSP delivers new value to markets and customers. In order to overcome challenges and create longevity, CSPs have to ensure a complete unison of processes, people and platforms is achieved. In doing so, CSPs are able to combine products across different partners and bundle together innovatively for customers. 


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For a digital ecosystem to survive, multiple synergies must be built with the help of an open architecture that allows CSPs to build a unified solution that leverages the power of a vibrant ecosystem

An essential parameter of marketplaces is value creation. As with many other businesses, a factor of survival is not just having a large number of customers, but to have customers that are actually engaged. Having a larger number of inactive customers adds little to no value to marketplaces. 

Marketplaces are attractive due to their flexible and agile nature, providing an environment that is ideal to test new categories of products and services. Users that are willing to engage with brands indicate that their expectations and needs are being met. As such, maintaining that high user engagement is critical for the success of a marketplace.  


TM Forum Marketplaces blog 2

Design principles for marketplaces

  1. Ensure elasticity, reliability and resiliency
  2. Consider security from the outset and minimize points of vulnerability
  3. Minimize obsolescence and future-proof wherever possible
  4. Design for hybrid infrastructure and report use of underlying resources
  5. Provide visibility into behavior and measure adherence to principles
  6. Support latency requirements and ensure service quality when some infrastructure fails
  7. Support events and automate management and operation


These design principles show that marketplaces represent a strategic investment in the way a CSP develops and brings new value to markets

In order for CSPs to capitalize on marketplace opportunities, they need to be able to keep customer experience at the forefront of their strategy. 

Through implementing a CPQ solution that can handle the complexities of managing large and fast evolving portfolios, as well as guide customers through a smooth buying journey, CSPs can see their marketplace vision come to life. 

CSPs must ensure that the CPQ they use has the capacity to scale and integrate seamlessly with delivery systems, enhancing consumer confidence in increasing their use of the most cost-effective channel. Through using a CPQ layer, CSPs can manage catalogs, segments and bundles, as well as offset challenges and complexities they may face. 


Marketplaces blog