About two-thirds of the world’s mobile phone users live in developing countries, with the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) accounting for four out of the top five countries in terms of mobile subscription numbers. Many mobile companies see Africa’s developing markets as “the last great frontier” both because penetration is still low and because Africans seem willing to use mobile telephony for so many applications. While many global mobile operators are keen to invest in these markets, a sound business strategy based on an in-depth knowledge of a country’s context and culture is necessary to successfully tap into this opportunity.
Baird’s CMC associates have extensive on-the-ground expertise in the telecom sector in the fast-developing countries of Africa, Latin America and South Asia and in emerging markets such as India, South Africa, Russia, and Brazil. Our team assists clients in navigating the regulatory environment, tackling issues such as spectrum allocation, technology, taxation, and policy. We also advise governments on how best to attract potential investors, who may be wary of entering unknown markets. We use a mixture of public media and private discussions to ensure that our clients network with key stakeholders and opinion leaders, thus maximising their reputational and competitive edge. Our associates monitor trends in the environment, forecast future developments, and advise clients on well-rounded strategies and solutions that enable them to flourish in the complex and extremely competitive telecom markets in these emerging economies.
Project example: Baird’s CMC associates devised a multi-level public affairs campaign for the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) as a way to maintain a level playing field between cellular-phone and new CDMA applicants. The campaign was a response to the Telecom Ministry’s announcement of a policy that showed preference to CDMA operators who wanted to enter the mobile telephony market, much to the detriment of existing and potential cellular operators in the country. Baird’s CMC used multi-level messaging targeted to key stakeholders, drawing upon media, political advocacy, and dialogue with other stakeholders and opinion leaders to highlight the drawbacks of this policy for India’s emerging telecom sector. Our work helped build multiple riders into the new type of mobile license of thus helping maintain the competitive advantage of cellular operators.
Baird’s CMC experts: Dilip Cherian, Francois Baird, Mark Chataway, Marta Dourado