We’re winding down after an incredibly exciting and energetic few days in Barcelona for Mobile World Congress 2017. The team here at Comptel has set a goal to out-do itself at every annual MWC by making an even bigger impact than the year before. We definitely feel we accomplished that this year, with so much going on:
Check out how our booth, which doubled as a video game screen, came together:
Thanks to all those who paid a visit to our booth – it was well-visited, meeting rooms were fully-booked and we had a busy few days showcasing our solutions to customers, partners, analysts and media.
As for the full show, #MWC17 also had plenty to offer in terms of insights, announcements and industry excitement. Here are a few takeaways from several top keynotes last week:
John Stankey: Customers are The Ultimate Barometer of Success
In his keynote, AT&T CEO John Stankey said that the voice of today’s telco customer carries more weight than it has in the history of the telco industry. Customers want appreciation, personalisation and simplicity. They want to live their life on their terms and to get more for less. CSPs need to get comfortable feeling uncomfortable to live up to the expectations of today’s customers, said Stankey.
To succeed, telcos must build engaging digital platforms. What matters the most is how many hours your customers spend on your platform and how much of your full range of personalised services and content they enjoy, he added.
Stankey listed what he believes are the main engagement principles for future telco platforms:
Video will be the dominant playing field
Multi-sided business models will remain important
Content that is compelling matters
Integration matters for value and convenience
The product is software
Most importantly, the product is software that captures the customer’s imagination. Vertically integrated products do not have a future any more, said Stankey. Instead, it’s all about software that goes beyond ubiquitous connectivity, contributing to greater customer experience and a stronger emotional bond to content. Software is the product wrapper that reengineers entertainment and glues everything together.
Vivendi on the Future of Mobile Content
With strong positions in music, entertainment and gaming, Vivendi has a unique perspective on the various types of digital content today’s mobile consumer craves. In his keynote, CEO Arnaud de Puyfontaine explained that telcos will be able to offer mobile content through partnerships with companies like Vivendi.
The company’s mobile short studio, called Studio+, produces 10 episodes of a series, with each episode at 10-minutes in length, a model that de Puyfontaine said is perfect for bite-size mobile content experiences. His company is now developing telco partnerships to roll out the content, which in turns helps CSPs dip their toes into an innovative digital service channel.
Vivendi tried to purchase its own telco subsidiaries in the early 2000s, he explained, but that failed strategy pointed the company toward a more flexible horizontal convergence model. Strategically, telco partnerships will provide Vivendi and its partners scale and agility, said de Puyfontaine.
Disruption at the Network Edge
Executives from three mobile leaders – Sprint, Deutsche Telekom and Nokia – discussed the importance of edge computing to serving the new mobile economy. The panel included Günther Ottendorfer, COO, Technology at Sprint, Bruno Jacobfeuerborn, CTO at Deutsche Telekom and Michael Clever, SVP Mobile Broadband at Nokia.
Edge computing brings network functions physically closer to the consumer to, among other things, dramatically reduce network latency. A number of factors drive this trend, including the growing number of connected devices (from VR/AR to connected cars) that require continuous broadband connectivity, and the emergence of 5G. For example, Sprint is diversifying its core network by deploying thousands of small cells instead of microcell towers, according to Ottendorfer.
Meanwhile, Deutsche Telekom has joined the Telecom Infra Project, a community initiative to re-imagine how telco networks support data-intensive services like video and virtual reality. According to Jacobfeuerborn, video will account for 80 percent of the world’s mobile data traffic by 2021, which means telcos need to work now to bring better connectivity closer to the consumer.
Nokia’s Clever spoke to the benefits of new network technologies – including a shared data layer and a stateless machine architecture – to introduce endless capacity, scale and robustness to the network. Real-time analytics of network data could radically reduce the complexity and costs of the network and help telcos generate new revenue streams by better leveraging network assets and customer data, Clever said.
Ramsay explained that, per Analysys Mason estimates, about 50 billion in U.S. dollars was spent on worldwide capital expenditures related to fibre-to-the-x (FTTX) capabilities. That was about 2 percent higher than 2014, said Ramsay, who added that more than half the world’s consumers will have access to fibre internet by 2020.
That would be an ideal outcome for many consumers, who are starved for faster internet to support complex home networks. The average household will run multiple fixed and mobile devices from a single home Wi-Fi network, and with bandwidth-greedy services like 4K video ready to enter more homes, demand will only increase in the years ahead. Ramsay explained that most consumers now know that fibre is the latest and greatest technology for fixed broadband services, which makes fibre capability an attractive marketing tool for operators.
Of course, to offer fibre, operators need to solve a number of infrastructure, network and service challenges. In his part of the presentation, GE’s James Wheatley explained how proper network design – focused on automation, optimisation and a single view to disparate networks – can help operators efficiently meet overwhelming demand for higher bandwidth services. He also offered best practices for aligning physical inventory to meet customer expectations around service availability and quality. Watch the first webinar here to learn more.
This type of intelligent network transformation, which limits disruption to the network while significantly increasing operator capabilities and service opportunities, provides a crucial blueprint to operators exploring fibre deployments. The third and final webinar in our series provided another compelling example, this time from POST Luxembourg, which navigated the delicate balance of a corporate split-off by adopting a more dynamic, efficient and automated fulfilment architecture to serve existing and future demands from customers. Watch “Agile Delivery Leading to Successful OSS Transformation” to learn more about that story.
As we’re seeing from worldwide activity, fibre will undoubtedly continue to be one of the top services those customers demand in the years ahead. Not only will fibre deployments help operators keep up with consumer expectations, but as Comptel VP North America Peter Middleton explained recently, fibre capabilities could also be the difference-maker that helps smaller operators compete with larger players in key markets like United States.
The only thing standing in the way? Network transformation. Chorus and POST Luxembourg proved that the network does not have to be an obstacle to service opportunity, as long as you know how to devise an intelligent and efficient strategy for evolution.
Watch the complete “Winning with Fibre” webinar series to catch up on the issues around fibre connectivity and to receive a blueprint for building the perfect business model for fibre connectivity and services.
Informa Telecoms and Media Blog… 12 Top OSS/BSS Trends for 2012
Analyst Peter Dykes highlights an exciting outlook for the OSS/BSS sector in 2012. He predicts that the growing requirement for more complex rating and billing functionality will open up opportunities for vendors, and says that improvements in this area are necessary for operators embracing LTE. For 2012, he also believes that in both mature and emerging markets, there will be a greater focus on areas such as customer experience, business intelligence and innovation in handling network congestion.
The predictions Comptel believe are particularly interesting include the rise in demand for OSS tailored to M2M services, which Steve Hateley recently wrote about, and the growth of policy-based online charging (OLC) as operators seek to offer more innovative services. What 2012 prediction do you think is most surprising?
Telecomasia.net… Five New Challenges for APAC Telecoms in 2012
Ovum analyst David Kennedy believes that tightening margins and streamlining business processes will be the main theme for the Asia-Pacific telecoms industry, as overall growth in the mobile market slows and competition for customers increases. David believes these five trends will drive the market forward in the region in 2012:
The push for cost optimisation and efficiency – this will grow in importance due to increasing competition and margin pressures.
The importance of customer service – operators will work to stay ahead of the competition with promotions, marketing, better network convergence/reliability, etc.
The future of smart devices and mobile app ecosystems – successful devices will need to integrate applications, content and services into the platform.
Network data management importance– as data surges, operators are being forced to alleviate network congestion and will roll out a combination of solutions including more LTE networks and Wi-Fi offloading.
Bundling for customer retention – more bundling is expected to emerge for mobile-only and second-tier operators.
Do you agree that these trends will define the APAC telecoms industry in 2012 and ensure continued profitability and improved efficiency?
Telecoms.com… Mobile Network Predictions for 2012
In 2012, the mobile market will see two key trends emerge: technologies critical to maintaining a high user experience and initiatives providing additional profit growth opportunities while reducing costs. In an effort to improve the customer experience and increase revenues, operators are looking to invest in network sharing and traffic optimisation.
Another major issue in 2012 will be coverage for LTE networks, most notably in markets where operators only have access to high frequency spectrum. LTE femtocells are predicted to boom in popularity, which will benefit residential, business and public hotspots. However, deployment of LTE small cells for capacity improvements is not expected to be widespread in 2012.
Additionally, investing in traffic optimisation for video is a hot topic, with content providers, CDNs and other vendors, and mobile operators debating various ways to deliver mobile content efficiently. We’re looking forward to seeing mobile innovations in action at the upcoming London Olympics, where operators are expected to showcase the successes of their technologies.
Figures released by U.K. regulator Ofcom in August show that mobile data traffic has increased 40 fold over the past three years, with 27% of adults and 47% of teenagers now owning smartphones.
In the regulator’s Communications Market Report, it stated that “the recent adoption of smartphones has been accompanied by an increase in the volume of mobile data transferred over the U.K.’s mobile networks. This increased 40-fold between 2007 and 2010.”
Image Courtesy of mediabistro.com
The report also showed that 27% of U.K. adults accessed the Internet on their mobile phones at the start of 2011, up 22% from 2010. Additionally, social networking has overtaken email as the most popular use of smartphones.
This is just one example demonstrating the exponential growth in mobile data and the need by operators to do something about the increases in the amount of data being crunched, especially when they start trialing LTE. Customers are demanding more bandwidth in order to run faster, interactive services, but at the moment, most networks just simply can’t cope.
With Cisco projecting that, by 2015, 66% of global mobile data will be taken up by video streaming, what is the solution in order to optimise mobile networks so that they can cope with the huge increase in mobile data being consumed?
Increasing bandwidth and spectrum is playing a part in how operators are attempting to accommodate increasing data usage. This is why the push towards LTE has gained such incredible momentum, especially in the U.S. The value of spectrum can be seen in the AT&T merger with T-Mobile. While the merger makes the network the largest in the country, it also gives the operator far more spectrum to play with than its closest rival Verizon. More spectrum also allows AT&T to give their customers exactly what they want, meaning more LTE coverage.
Operators are also coping with mobile data consumption by using a variety of pricing and promotional strategies to strike a workable balance between encouraging use of data where resources are plentiful, deterring it when resources are scarce and ensuring maximum payback on their network investments. However, they require the right OSS solution to give them the levers to control this service, encourage customer demand and create profitable new business.
If mobile data grows as much as it is predicted to over the next couple of years, operators are going to have to act fast in order to maintain the bandwidth speeds that their customers will be demanding, much like what AT&T has already figured out.