Telecom CEOs see disruption as opportunity

Sean Sullivan discusses five key industry trends

By Barbara K. Mednick

As global momentum remains strong, telecom CEOs are expressing a high level of confidence in their ability to generate and maintain top-line growth -- now and in the future.

Despite industry disruption, telecom CEOs are nearly unanimous in seeing the resulting disruption as more of an opportunity than a threat, according to the 2018 KPMG Telecom CEO Outlook, which provides insights from 82 telecom industry CEOs in the United States. Changing technologies and customer demands create product and service opportunities in areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), 5G and other new offerings. 

“Telecom CEOs expressed a higher level of confidence in their ability to grow revenue than might be expected. While there is much reason for optimism within the industry, growth is hard-earned in the current climate of disruption, and it remains to be seen if these companies can keep pace with their own expectations,” said Sean Sullivan, KPMG National Sector Leader Telecommunications.

Sullivan is responsible for directing the U.S. firm’s capabilities, knowledge and expertise to successfully address the business needs of companies in the telecommunications industry, and leads efforts to expand KPMG’s advisory, tax and audit services in this sector.

Key telecom trends

Looking ahead, Sullivan sees these five key trends in the telecom industry:

1.       Content continues to be an important focus and consumer viewing preferences are accelerating the move to over-the-top (OTT) content delivery, which will force telecoms into the content creation business or compel them to join forces with media outlets.

2.       The rollout of 5G wireless networks is getting under way in 2019:

  • 5G will affect how consumers and enterprises leverage connected devices, and will be of utmost importance in the management of exponential growth in IoT.
  • Monetizing 5G networks will be a major focus given the cost to deploy. Telecoms will need creative use cases to enable industry disruption (smart home/city, agribusiness, autonomous vehicles and remote medicine). 

3.       The deployment of 5G wireless networks will accelerate Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) initiatives, which will enable delivery of even more advanced applications.

4.       The demand for Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) mobile data usage is expected to increase.

5.       To provide greater value, an increasing number of operators will transform from connectivity providers to platform providers.

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


Media kit

Download the Telecom CEO Outlook, Operating in a disrupted world.


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.