Global telecom CEOs say protecting customer data top priority

By Barbara K. Mednick

Data use and privacy affect consumers and businesses across a wide range of industries. It’s a key issue for today’s global telecom CEOs, who recognize the need to protect customer data against the inevitability of cyberattacks and to be good stewards of the data they collect.

“With more telecom providers pursuing growth strategies based on data-fueled services and entertainment, the volume of personal data consumers are trusting providers to maintain is increasing exponentially, making data security a top priority for providers,” according to Sean Sullivan, KPMG U.S. National Telecommunications Sector Leader.

In fact, the 2019 KPMG CEO Telecom Outlook found that 62% of global telecom CEOs believe protecting customer data is one of their most important responsibilities, with nearly two-thirds (64%) of telecom CEOs saying that a strong cyber strategy is critical to engendering trust with their key stakeholders. Also, 69% view information security as a source of competitive advantage.

The importance of protecting data is also underscored in KPMG’s recent 2019 Consumer Loss Barometer report, which found that consumers continue to have reservations about the possible misuse of their private details and are primarily concerned about how breaches will affect them personally.


The survey also found that telecom CEOs are committed to blending human and digital labor to optimize the workforce and expect to deploy strategic alliances, joint ventures and M&A to enhance their growth.

Optimizing the workforce

Telecom CEOs are competing for specialized employees in such high demand areas as data science and cyber security to meet future challenges. More than half (55%) of the CEOs say their organization faces difficulties finding the workers they need, with only 26% saying their company does not have talent-recruitment challenges. To optimize their workforce, they expect to blend human and digital labor by investing in automation and artificial intelligence (AI).

Partnering for growth

For many CEOs, M&A remains a consistent strategy for fostering top-line growth. Nine in 10 CEOs describe their organization’s M&A appetite as either moderate (57%) or high (33%), with primary drivers including:

  • Taking advantage of favorable valuations
  • Diversifying the business
  • Reducing costs through economies of scale
  • Eliminating a direct competitor
  • Transforming the business model faster than organic growth will deliver.

“The bottom line is that M&A remains a consistent strategy for fostering top-line growth,” said Sullivan. “These results suggest CEOs expect the consolidation and transformation that have characterized the industry recently to continue at least for the next three years – and likely beyond.”

To learn more about the survey or to arrange an interview with Sean Sullivan, please contact Barbara K. Mednick


Media kit

Download the 2019 Global Telecom CEO Outlook.


Barbara K. Mednick

Barbara K. Mednick

Associate Director, Corporate Communications, KPMG US

+1 612-305-5471

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Sean Sullivan combines a deep understanding of current industry trends with an informed perspective on the future to help telecommunications companies successfully execute their strategy. He has more than 20 years of experience providing a broad range of advisory services to leading global telecommunications companies, including wireless operators, satellite companies, cable companies, Internet service providers and equipment manufacturers. He has served as a consultant for many of the world’s leading telecommunications companies.

Connect with Sean Sullivan on LinkedIn.