Comptel Invited to Speak at GSMA Mobile 360 Middle East Event

Posted: October 9th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Comptel Invited to Speak at GSMA Mobile 360 Middle East Event

With many mobile operators hot on the trail to have commercially launched 4G/LTE by the end of 2014, the prospect of new services and faster connectivity is becoming more exciting than ever for their customers.

According to Analysys Mason, the number of 4G/LTE handset connections worldwide will increase by 670 percent from 2013 to 2018. Yet, mobile handset data service revenue is only expected to grow by 64 percent during the same period.

In particular, the Middle East and North Africa are exemplary markets, with strong mobile growth driving impressive progress in the region. Providers are exploring hybrid monetisation models and solutions for their customers, like the Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company, du. The mobile operator just announced that for the first time in the Middle East, its customers will soon be able to access the Internet at 4G/LTE speeds, while making a crystal-clear voice call, made possible by VoLTE. Such solutions will help secure a competitive advantage and ensure future business growth.

It’s clear that mobile will increasingly play a significant role in connecting communities around the globe. But as the use of voice and SMS continues to decline, it will be more important for CSPs to explore new opportunities for monetising their data. So, how can mobile operators be able to capitalise on the LTE full services’ revenue potential?

This question and others will be tackled at the second annual GSMA Mobile 360 Middle East conference, co-located with GITEX in Dubai from 13-14th October. Comptel has been invited to participate on a panel around this very topic: “Monetising LTE and Profiting from a Transition Towards All IP.”

The conversation is especially important in a city like Dubai and in the broader Middle East, where the potential for LTE adoption is huge. According to the same report from Analysys Mason, strong mobile handset data growth in the Middle East and North Africa could mean that telecoms service revenue grows at a 2.9 percent compound annual growth rate, reaching $96 billion by 2018.

The Future of Connectivity

Comptel and our fellow panelists will share insight on how to help smoothly drive that growth forward, and how mobile operators can monetise their networks to differentiate services in a way that will communicate their true value to their customers.

Petteri Suonio, technical sales director in our Middle East and Africa region, will speak on Comptel’s behalf, sharing solutions from our recent research around how mobile operators can better monetise their data, as well as insight on various offerings, bundles, data usage patterns and more from the region and across the globe.

Mr. Suonio will be joined on the panel by Noel Kirkaldy, head of technology, Middle East & Africa, Nokia Siemens Networks; Ihab Ghattas, assistant president of Middle East region, Huawei; and Muhammad Saqib, director, technical strategy & RAN planning, Warid Telecom.

The key for mobile operators’ success will be a combination of both tried-and-tested monetisation methods and new ones. To strengthen operator monetisation and differentiation, flexible and agile policy and charging capabilities with easy to use service design will play a major role. In addition, predictive analytics will be increasingly important in allowing operators to see patterns that would otherwise be hidden, and to use this insight to construct new, tailored offers.

With this, mobile operators will be able to better understand customer behaviours and build a higher quality of experience, while introducing new sources of revenue. Future revenue growth for mobile operators will fully depend on building flexible, personalised service packages and services that will allow them to innovate with their customers.

If you’ll be attending GSMA Mobile 360 or GITEX in Dubai and would like to meet with Mr. Suonio, please send an email to comptel.marketing@comptel.com.

For more information on GSMA Mobile 360 Middle East, panels and participants, please click here. Or read more about monetising mobile data in our recent whitepaper.


Mobile World Congress 2013: Live from Barcelona!

Posted: February 26th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Events, Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Comptel booth_6C30The excitement was (and still is) palpable here in Barcelona, as Mobile World Congress kicked into full gear yesterday. The keynote sessions on day one did not disappoint, with four of the largest mobile operators across the globe outlining their business strategies over the past year and looking ahead to 2017 and beyond. First up was chairman of the GSMA and CEO of Telecom Italia Group, Franco Bernabè, who stated that spectrum, privacy and investments must be the key focus for mobile operators moving forward.

Sixty-two million wireless connections are already using LTE, and this number is expected to grow to 920 million by 2017. Spectrum, then, is clearly a priority. However, as Bernabè explained, it’s critical to do more than simply having the right amount of spectrum—mobile operators must ensure that it is also harmonised across the world, in turn, making mobile services more affordable for consumers.

Privacy is another element for operators to consider, as mobile phones are carrying an increasing amount of personal information. With $350 billion compromised this year due to security risks, there is a clear place for mobile operators to become central in secure identity and access management.

Finally, Bernabè urged, operators must find a balance between competition, innovation and investment. Investments will depend on three factors: economics of scale, foreseeable business environments and up-to-date regulatory frameworks. He continued saying that operators must remain committed to Near Field Communications (NFC), LTE and voice over LTE (VoLTE) to create economically viable competition, especially in regions where excess competition is depressing the markets.

Following the opening remarks, GSMA’s director general, Anne Bouverot, moderated a discussion on the challenges and opportunities for mobile operators. AT&T’s president and CEO, Randall Stephenson, believes that we’re moving from a period of wireless experience on mobile devices to one where connectivity is always assumed and new services, like home security and mobile wallets, can be layered on top.

Next, China Mobile’s chairman, Xi Guohua, added that operators should be more concerned about OTT competition, which can erode the value of services. He suggests consolidating industry resources, like networks and devices, to gain a competitive advantage in the value chain. Additionally, Xi believes there is an opportunity with LTE to strengthen collaboration among the Internet of things, such as M2M, which will increase dialogue and align interests for the world’s operators.

Adding to this, Telefonica’s executive chairman and CEO, César Aliert, stated that operators need to lead the ecosystems into a healthy future by implementing new commercial models to better serve customers and change market dynamics. This includes breaking the taboos associated with network rollout and providing the best experience possible to customers.

Then, Vodafone’s CEO Vittorio Colao dove into how his group of operators is transforming in this digital revolution. Interestingly, he noted that more than a quarter of mobile users check their phones at the dinner table, and 66 percent sleep with their phones. Life is clearly mobile, and this is only going to increase. Because of this, Colao stated that operators need to enrich the customer experience with other services. Winners will be those who have the best products and lowest prices and are most willing to compromise and put in the work.

So far, the keynotes have been exciting to listen to, and the show floor has been packed! We’re looking forward to attending more sessions and meeting our customers, partners and other across the industry to share ideas about our changing telco landscape. In the meantime, stop by our booth in Hall 6, stand 6C30!


Mobile World Congress: A Week in Reflection (Part II)

Posted: March 15th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Mobile World Congress: A Week in Reflection (Part II)

To continue my reflections on the week in Barcelona for Mobile World Congress (MWC), the event certainly proved once again to be one of the geek highlights of the year, with a show floor full of tablets, touchscreens, techniques and innovative applications. Blackberry (RIM) were making a big splash around the Playbook which looked…reasonable but the same as the other tablets on the streets trying to play catch up to the popular iPad. The company’s decision to not include native e-mail, calendar or contacts applications in its first operating system (OS) may have contributed to the poor reviews, but last week, it showcased the second iteration (OS 2.0) that had been announced in February. It still doesn’t have a complete messenger capability but is at least an improvement, and now offers support for SOME Android applications. Can’t help but feel that they need to stop playing catch-up and look for new innovation before getting completely left behind.

Speaking of new innovation, Samsung introduced the Galaxy Note that is trying to blur the device segmentation lines. It’s a 5.3-inch hybrid tablet that can be used as a phone (not a bad idea—maybe they have something here?). Being an iPhone and iPad user myself, I think there is certainly a space for something the size of a Kindle (eReader), as people everywhere seem to be happy carrying them around. I can’t help but think that we may be going from lipstick-sized phones back to the early 90s-sized handset brick. So will it lead to a new generation of pay-as-you-go users who buy one, then revert to using it as a tablet but still have a desire for a pure “phone”?

Having one of its larger offices in my hometown, I felt a certain level of pride seeing Intel (“the sponsors of tomorrow”) at the show and demonstrating its ‘from device to the cloud’ innovation. The ‘Intel Inside’ tag was now being associated with two primary themes: a new smartphone built in partnership with Orange and the concept of augmented reality on the handset. The jointly developed smartphone, driven with the type of processing innovation we saw in PC chips ten years ago, was demonstrated using a graphics-intensive driving game—real time rendered onto a TV and mimicking the type of performance you would expect from a high-quality console gaming experience. Then, the booth jockey hit passers-by with a visually jaw-dropping demonstration of augmented reality. The device used its camera to identify the image it had been presented, then through the cloud, it fetched back striking live 3D imagery, video and adverts to explain what you were looking at. Go check it out—the demo video is on YouTube! Impressive to see some true leaps forward in technology and its applications.

Microsoft were keen to introduce its new handset to the crowd by challenging passers-by to take the “Windows Mobile Challenge”. The company threw down the gauntlet against popular Android and Apple smartphones on tasks such as sending email, attaching photos to messages and creating contacts. In reality, the biggest challenge being faced by Microsoft is attracting developers to build a comprehensive library of applications that can be used with the Windows OS. The OS blends together Xbox Live gaming, Zune multimedia, personal media (photos and videos), social media utilities, productivity tools and third-party apps, which are organized into categories called “Hubs.” But will the consumer trust it on a handheld device? Historically, you would hear murmurs of freezes, lock-outs and crashes, so fingers crossed that those fears have now gone.

It wouldn’t be possible to provide a small snapshot of the show floor without mentioning Android whose manifestation was popular, busy, fun and fresh. But it wasn’t just the ice-cream sandwiches and tube-slide that Android came to show off; in fact, the big message was about the ecosystem, and how through a growing army of worldwide developers, device vendors are thriving. The Google Mobile Blog recently quoted some fascinating figures relating to this Android phenomenon.

Securing the Handset – The BOD Conundrum

After talking to VMWare about its proposition for the show, an extremely helpful lead evangelist explained that the company’s major theme addressed how to keep enterprise IT in control of their user accounts. The Bring your Own Device (BOD) trend is continuing to grow at an enormous rate as users become increasingly drawn to a preferred device—and not necessarily the one they were issued by corporate IT. The biggest reluctance from users has to be that they don’t want to carry two handsets—one for work and one for personal, plus the device they have will also carry media and applications that a corporate–approved handset may not permit. VMWare have developed a HyperVisor client for mobile that securely partitions the corporate applications and content from the ‘leisure’ profiles on ‘any’ handset. I say ‘any’, but currently, it’s been launched for Motorola, Samsung and Nokia. The really useful side to this product is the ability for IT to remotely control the handset-based corporate client from a central web-based application, bringing a high level of admin-based security back under control.

Time to Celebrate a Successfully Executed Show

With a fresh new look and feel, clear strategy and positioning, over 185 pre-arranged meetings with clients, prospects, analysts, partners and the press—it warranted a celebration. Every night ‘Co’mptel invited passers-by and friends to informally join it for champagne and the best tapas in Barcelona! Timo Koistinen, senior vice president of Europe East, (seen here) was more than happy to kick off the celebrations.

The End for Fira Montjuïc

Up until 2006, this event had taken place in Cannes and was known as 3GSM World. Since then, the Fira Montjuïc had quite adequately taken on the mantle. Looking at the increase of attendees and now the broadening ecosystem of multi-vertical contributors and vendors, the GSMA has made the decision to up sticks and relocate to Fira de Barcelona Gran Via in order to provide approximately 50% more exhibition space. In addition to the usual lottery to get the prime exhibition spaces, the buzz around the event seemed varied, ranging from “well, it’s closer to the airport” to “it’s too far out of town”, but we’ll see. I look forward to another strong showing by Comptel in 2013.


Around the World

Posted: November 24th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Around the World | Tags: , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Around the WorldInside Track…
Management World Americas 2010: A View from the Sunshine State
Management World Americas is over for another year…  TM Forum recaps this year’s Orlando conference in this Inside Track newsletter article.  According toe TM Forum, more than 1,200 attendees participated in discussions, conference sessions, debates and networking opportunities.  One particular theme that permeated the event was cloud services.  Martin Creaner, president of TM Forum, commented, “Last year here in Orlando, we had a major launch of our involvement in the cloud space, and this year, the cloud sessions [were] standing room only.  It’s not only due to a growing importance of cloud services, but also the fact that service providers get the concept of cloud as an important part of reducing costs and as an enabler of this transformation to a new business model.”  As Comptel’s recent Comptel User Group survey showed, Cloud certainly offers a great opportunity for service provides, but like any other service, it needs to be closely managed.  If CSPs can’t define and deliver services efficiently, charge appropriately and keep customers satisfied, cloud will not be profitable.

Zippy’s Telecom Blog…
Smartphones Generate Nearly 65 Percent of the World’s Mobile Traffic
According a recent Informa report, smartphone users generate about two-thirds of total mobile cellular traffic worldwide (this excludes mobile broadband traffic generated by laptops and other portable devices, as well as Wi-Fi traffic offload that make up most mobile phone traffic).  Yet, only 13% of mobile subscribers use smartphones.  Moreover, as smartphone users spend more time on the Internet, the traffic that each individual generates—or average traffic per user (ATPU)–will increase over the next five years by 700%.

What’s interesting to note is that other reports, like this one from Analysys Mason, suggests that there is no ‘mobile data tsunami’.  Analyst Rupert Wood notes that mobile data growth is around 30 percent per year—not 100 percent like some of the wilder estimates have suggested.  Rupert point out that it is still the PCs that gobble up the bulk of mobile data in Europe—not smartphones; This was confirmed by various service providers, including Vodafone, speaking at this week’s Broadband Traffic Management conference in London. However, this proportion is rapidly changing, as smartphone uptake continues to boom and PC mobile data flattens.  Which figures do you think are the most accurate?

Connected Planet…
GSMA: The Time Has Come for More Connected Devices
The GSMA changed its rules to allow for embedded SIMs that can be remotely activated.  The wireless industry is a bit surprised by this announcement because GSMA decisions are driven by its mobile operator members, who, with the decision, may lose some control, such as locking people into their networks or having influence in the retail chain.  Rob Conway, CEO and member of the board of the GSMA, believes that embedded SIMs will provide security and portability for consumers, as well as additional functionality for enabling new services, such as such as e-Wallet and NFC applications. This news may also allow OTT players, like Apple or Google, to embed SIM cards into their phones and cut operators out of the retail chain, since phones would be remotely activated for a carrier network via stores and points of sale.  However, the announcement focused on the flexibility and innovations that its new “taskforce” (including includes AT&T, China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom Orange, KT, NTT DOCOMO, SK Telecom, Telecom Italia, Telefonica, Verizon Wireless, and Vodafone) can develop.  What do you think of this change?


GTB 40 under 40 Summit: Is the Way Forward Dumb or Smart?

Posted: October 1st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on GTB 40 under 40 Summit: Is the Way Forward Dumb or Smart?

London, September 27-28, 2010

Global Telecoms Business (GTB) hosted an invitation-only summit for 40 leading telecoms entrepreneurs under the age of 40 in 2010, drawn from operators and network, software and services suppliers (including Gareth Senior, Comptel’s CTO). Most nominees presented or participated in discussion panels. Around 35 of the 40 nominated executives attended; discussions were wide-ranging and provided an interesting barometer on the state of the industry.

The forty foresee a significantly changing role for telecoms, which unsurprisingly finds itself at yet another crossroads. What’s perhaps different—and encouraging—is that the industry is starting to look outwards rather than inward for its strategic direction, recognizing that telecoms will be less an ‘endpoint service’ but will increasingly play an enabling role inside other industries and in broader service eco-systems. Telecommunications could, for example:

–      provide monitoring and metering for advanced utilities, smart grids, fleets, road congestion management and so on;

–      be built into devices, or bundled with services (Amazon’s Kindle was often cited as a disruptive device), which could point to a similar approach with gaming and other single-or limited-use Internet devices; and

–      be at the heart of ‘vertical’ applications for business, government, public services and more.

Much was made of device connections overtaking person-to-person as a point of focus. ‘Fifty billion devices’ currently seems to be the industry’s most quoted statistic, projecting the number of devices which will be Internet-connected by 2020. By comparison, the industry has just crossed the five billion mark for connected humans. No one is prepared to make confident predictions about exactly what will result from all of this connectivity (and in particular, where the new revenue will come from), but it seems fair to say that some interesting business-to-business dynamics are likely to emerge over the next few years. The outlook for telecoms may be cloudy, but it’s far from dull.

At the same time as looking for innovation, there is evidence of real focus on ‘the plumbing’, or optimising networks for the most efficient use per subscriber, service or device, largely to disconnect ever-growing traffic volumes from the costs to which they are very closely aligned today. Nominees expressed confidence in the power of more adaptable, resilient, software-driven networks to make the network more cost-effective and scalable for future services. This was reinforced by the GSMA, which believes the capacity crunch can be overcome through a combination of:

–      Effective, variable pricing—particularly tiered- and QoS-based,

–      Spectral efficiencies,

–      New 200 and 800 MHz spectrum—and the refarmed 900 and 1800 MHz range,

–      General expansion and greater sharing of networks,

–      Traffic offload through Wi-Fi and femtocells, and

–      Better traffic management—using caching and compression techniques at the network edge.

If there was a single recurring theme, it was the question of ‘smart pipe vs. dumb pipe’. Most of the 40 are predicting some flavour of smart pipe—exploiting the capabilities of advanced networks to create sophisticated and differentiated communications services—but shading into a more enlightened approach to content than just ‘becoming a media company’. This could perhaps be best described as ‘smart business’, founded on network capabilities but selling content where real advantages exist (e.g. in location services or QoS dependency). A significant number still argue for a much closer focus on the network, however, tending towards a highly efficient ‘dumb pipe’, focusing on the wholesale provision of network services to other service providers and industries.

In the end, the most compelling analysis for me is one that looks at the argument in a less ‘polar’ way than ‘dumb vs smart’ would suggest, instead considering networks-into-content as a spectrum of value, with opportunities to capture varying lengths of the value chain depending on market position, market context and technology or business advantages.  Nothing new here? To judge from this conference, what’s new is a much more realistic weighing up of those factors than we’ve seen in recent years, which should help the market open up realistic new business and resist some very real challenges from rising Internet competitors.

These are themes that will no doubt be explored further at Comptel’s upcoming Comptel User Group (CUG) next week—watch this space.


The Stress of Moving

Posted: September 20th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Moving home is consistently rated amongst the most stressful things in life (up there with divorce and bereavement). It’s no wonder really. Aside from all of the logistics involved, there are many emotional attachments associated with the old home—the happy memories, the neighbours, the favourite shops and restaurants… it’s so hard leaving all of those things behind.

In recent weeks, both the GSMA and TM Forum have announced plans to move their flagship events—Mobile World Congress (MWC) and Management World (still known in most circles as TMW), respectively. Admittedly, the GSMA have not actually announced they are moving, but for the 2013 event and onwards, they are considering six alternative cities, including Barcelona, the present home of the MWC. At least their customers (operators, press, exhibitors and sponsors) are given a chance to express their preferences rather than waiting to be presented with a fait-accompli.

As a prospective delegate and exhibitor, one can’t help feeling a little unsettled about the prospect of moving. One needs to get used to new exhibition layouts (where are the best spots?), new hotels (will we find a nice, affordable place?), new restaurants and bars (for those all important, post-event meetings) and even a new climate (TMW’s new home, Dublin, is not Nice, as Ray Le Maistre of Light Reading pointed out)… There is also the uncertainty of whether the show will attract the same level and quality of participation, and whether as a sponsor, one should invest at the same level as in past events.

That said, one has to feel some sympathy for the organizers—moving an event is not a simple decision or operation. Every year, Comptel organizes the Comptel User Group (CUG) in a different country, so we know first hand how fraught with difficulty choosing a venue can be (can delegates fly there cost effectively?, will they need visas?, will it coincide with some holiday?). And yes, we have made mistakes in the past, but as Oscar Wilde once said: ‘Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.”