The Whole Truth - how to become a successful wholesaler

22 October 2021 | Research

Rupert Wood

Perspective | PDF (21 pages) | Fibre Infrastructure Strategies

"The virtualisation of wholesale fibre connectvity onto a software platform has enabled an alternative network-as-a-service approach where wholebuyer autonomy and agility do not come at the expense of capex-intensity."



New fibre infrastructure providers need to quickly capture the take-off in demand for full-fibre access. A vertically integrated approach is unlikely to fit well with the existing retail market structures. The question then is what sort of wholesale service set is optimal. Offering passive wholesale access only will not maximise margin, so the trick is to find a way of offering active wholesale services in a way that appeals commercially to all retail market segments.

Active access, and in particular the full network-as-a-service approach, offers the wholesaler:

  • a service set that allows service providers to make a break from the costly and time-consuming ‘ladder of investment’ model, and to move to a more opex-oriented approach while retaining a level of autonomy as VNOs
  • an opportunity to maximise return on investment by sharing infrastructure at an active layer, reducing the risk of being reduced to a provider of unlit fibre
  • an opportunity to foster new retail market structures and gain new types of customers with varying requirements, including multiple infrastructure requirements across fixed, mobile and enterprise.

The alternative fibre infrastructure landscape will, in many countries, become fragmented between different investor-owners. Whether or not these networks are overbuilt, there will be a need for some sort of unified approach between currently discrete networks. The network-as-a-service approach can be extended to encompass multiple infrastructures and can be developed as a common service platform. This is ultimately a simpler and neater approach than financial consolidation.

The Whole Truth - how to become a successful wholesaler

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