Another year, another ‘record breaking’ MWC. This year apparently over 108,000 attendees paid homage to the mobile industry. From flashy connected cars to robots and drones to spinning Virtual Reality (VR) seats, MWC 2017 had it all. There was the usual launch of shiny new smartphones with plenty of glamour, but the phone that generated the most amount of buzz was one that Nokia conceived in 2000 with its re-release of the 3310. Another phone vendor spent nearly ten minutes during the launch – not talking about specs – but explaining that their new handsets came in more colours than a rainbow! It was that kind of MWC – nothing really new.
Innovation for whom?
I have worked in this industry for over 30 years and I recall when the show was in Nice – titled 3GSM at the time – and it demonstrated true innovation. Innovation on the network that helped operators to boost revenues and make life easy for their subscribers. It was a more intimate affair where CEOs from the operators met vendors one to one to find out about solutions that really mattered to the telcos. In Barcelona, I was not convinced that a robot coffee machine or an Augmented Reality (AR) racing track would help to really boost operator revenues…
Even keynotes at MWC tend to be dominated by the OTTs. OTTs aren’t exactly known for making life easy for operators. Last year it was Mark Zuckerberg and this year it was Reed Hastings. One speech however did stand out for me and resonated with my past experience. It was when Bharti Airtel’s Sunil Mittal declared his “war on roaming”. Mr Mittal is a visionary and any initiative that puts a halt to bill shock and enhances subscriber experience certainly gets my vote.
The 5G hype
Back on the show floor 5G was plastered everywhere, well, almost everywhere apart from the restrooms! 5G dominated the headlines on the Show Daily and it created the most amount of buzz at the show. The standards have not been finalized and the 5G infrastructure is at a nascent stage, but that did not stop a smartphone manufacturer from claiming to have launched the world’s first 5G phone.
What came across at the show this year was that parts of the mobile industry were busy navel-gazing at 5G along with the other technologies such as VR and robots. Don’t get me wrong, they are eye-catching, very impressive technologies with fascinating use cases. However, do they help mobile operators overcome the challenges they are facing today? Certainly not.
In most markets across the world, mobile operators are facing stiff competition. Rival operators are breathing down their necks and if that wasn’t enough, carriers are having to deal with a major land grab instigated by OTTs who have decimated voice and messaging revenues. Some operators have not even been able to fully monetize and profit from their existing 3G or even 4G services, so looking to 5G as a saviour is a bit premature for the majority of operators attending MWC.
Rather than waiting for future technologies that might generate revenues, there’s a market that’s available now and it is worth $1 trillion. According to the analysts at Ovum, that’s how much global mobile providers with services to consumer and enterprise markets could earn by 2019. And it makes commercial sense.
The SME difference
Business customers spend more on their telecoms than residential customers and tend to sign-up to longer contracts. What’s more, enterprises tend to have better credit scores and are reliable when it comes paying bills. Businesses want their communications to have five nines reliability with minimum downtime.
We have leant our expertise to help operators monetize Enterprise Communications. Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) provide mobile operators with a lucrative opportunity. Why? Because large enterprises invest in expensive communications systems from vendors such as Avaya, Cisco or Microsoft. Yet most SMEs don’t need a fully-fledged Unified Communications (UC) suite. SMEs require a simple, yet robust and reliable communications system to replace their legacy PBX system. Operator infrastructure is ideally suited to meet the enterprise needs.
The brain at the centre of the network
To help operators launch innovative new products and secure additional revenue streams, Telsis created the Ocean Services Platform (OSP). It is an intelligent multi-service control platform that supports both legacy and advanced technologies. Operators can change and evolve their transport later to meet the needs of their high value priority customers and drive down costs and reduce complexity of deployment.
It is time for action
A study from Strategy Analytics found that revenue growth at mobile operators has been almost flat since 2007. That’s after network operators around the world had spent over $700 billion in infrastructure investment. That infrastructure could be used to secure new revenue streams. Download our whitepapers now and find out how you can start clawing back some of your huge infrastructure spending.