As the wireless industry matures, the pool of available resources seems to shrink. Carriers and the vendors that support their projects are consolidating through mergers and acquisitions at a steady pace.
Last year saw the end of the battle between AT&T and the U.S. Justice Department in the former's bid to acquire TimeWarner. After more than two years, the deal closed with AT&T purchasing TimeWarner for $85.4 billion. In the same year, Verizon beat out AT&T in a bidding war to buy Straight Path Communications for $3.1 billion to gain mmWave spectrum licenses that cover the entire United States.
Vendors have also caught the M&A bug. In the past four years, Zayo Group, a bandwidth and co-location provider based in Boulder, Colorado, purchased a slew of connectivity and data center assets. Then, just last year, the company purchased Neutral Path Communications and its subsidiary, Near North Partners for $31.5 million.
Zayo Group is not the only telecom service provider building its holdings portfolio. In fact, 2018 was marked by several significant mergers between the companies that support carriers:
- Windstream purchased Mass Communications for $37.5 million to offer a broader range of custom voice, networking, and global cloud solutions
- Fusion Telecommunications bought MegaPath for $71.5 million to increase the size of their sales team and partner community
- GlobalStar and Fiberlight merged in a $1.65 billion deal that combined satellite, wireless, and fixed broadband assets
If you can't describe what you are doing as a process, you don't know what you are doing. – W. Edwards Deming
What Do All of These Mergers Mean for Our Industry?
A vast vendor network supports telecom projects. Yet, each merger is reducing the number of qualified contractors in the market. As a result, it is becoming increasingly difficult to on-board contractors that:
- Have a safe work history
- Have specialized experience
- Have training programs that ensure a steady stream of qualified workers
As qualified contractors become scarcer, the ability to train our vendors and perform real-time quality-based approvals grows in value. How else can we ensure that our businesses have access to the support needed to complete future projects?
Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things. – Peter Drucker
How Can We Prepare Our Contractors to Support Our Projects?
Training contractors for your business-specific needs may seem counter-intuitive. Why would you invest in a tool that trains your contractors? Shouldn't your contractor know what to do? The truth is that every project comes with its own set of specifications and standards that trickle down from the top, often gaining new requirements along the way.
Active Oversight enables repetition-based training that walks your vendors through each task and approval process in the project. Each and every specification and standard that relates to the job is readily accessible in the field, when and where the work is happening.
Your vendors learn from every project as the workflow is built-out. They learn how to operate to your standards, how to increase efficiency by completing tasks on time, and they learn to apply your specifications to their duties.
The global impact of the wireless industry is swelling. At the same time, our responsibilities, both to those we serve and to each other, are also growing. We have a duty to ensure that we support the health and development of our industry, our businesses, and our employees by leveraging the tools needed to increase learning, collaboration, and quality.