Mobile World Congress 2017 trends

Telecom job
Mobile World Congress 2017 will start shortly in Barcelona. Some of the technology firms have revealed the latest trends to watch out at MWC 2017.

M&A activity will fuel collaboration

Daniel Kurgan, CEO of BICS

The digital revolution has sparked a new age of communication. New, branded digital experiences including messaging apps, chat bots and the IoT, have crept into the mobile market, and consumers expect instant connectivity and seamless services, wherever they are in the world.

At MWC 2017 and beyond, we will witness more convergence across the telecoms space as service providers develop cross-platform propositions to support content services, and look to diversify in order to target vertical markets. Wholesalers are set to play a crucial role in the development and transformation of the telecoms industry this year, acting as facilitators of new partnerships across the sector.

This year, we’ll see more M&A activity as mobile operators and pure-play telecoms businesses look to partner with digital service providers, cloud communications companies and even fintech companies to embed mobile and rich communications services into their core proposition.

The IoT trojan horse

Michael Segal, area vice president, Marketing Strategy, NETSCOUT

At Mobile World Congress, there will be a focus on IoT from all sectors and industries attending the show. Markets as diverse as healthcare and manufacturing are becoming more dependent on automation, IoT, and M2M communications to drive business processes and mission critical systems. However, progress will be hampered by a new breed of malware threats that use IoT devices as hosts and M2M networks to propagate and run amok in factories, hospitals and smart homes.

To date, innocuous devices such as routers, webcams, and even printers, have been used as a bridgehead for nefarious hackers and botnets. These types of attacks will become more prevalent as we go through the year and will intensify in scale when commercial applications are affected.

There will be serious consequences not only for operators, but also for both enterprises and public sector organisations that do not keep their IoT networks in check, as well as other enterprises that will become more susceptible to DDoS attacks from IoT devices they don’t own. Attendees will use MWC to explore how businesses can better collaborate to fight the threat of IoT-related hacks.

Putting DDoS protection in place is only part of the solution. It’s imperative that companies look at securing M2M networks and systems, ensuring they are continuously monitored in real-time to safeguard against threats but also to ensure maximum output and productivity.

Operators look to address capacity demand for video

Mark Pinto, CEO of Blue Danube

Wireless networks are being placed under immense strain due to high volumes of data traffic, largely generated by video content. The amount of video streamed live or on-demand is growing exponentially every day. This is driven by OTT video services and supplemented by adverts, promotional videos and user generated content. Frustration with video delays, interruptions or crashes is a significant customer satisfaction issue. The situation is compounded by user desire to stream new HD video formats such as 4K, which require more bandwidth, typically around 25Mbps. To date, the only obvious solutions to address the capacity demand on LTE networks would be to invest in additional spectrum or new base station sites. This is costly and time consuming.

At MWC, operators will be looking for technology that delivers additional capacity, cost-effectively and as soon as possible. 5G will understandably be high on the agenda as a solution, however it is still many years from being ready for commercial deployment, especially for mobile applications. Operators want to ensure a sustained and high quality viewing experience for their subscribers now and well into the next decade. Fortunately, it’s possible to achieve this by deploying smart antenna solutions that can be integrated directly into the network to address capacity demands on LTE networks, but also support 5G and fixed wireless applications as and when required.

Network operators become content kings

Chris Haddock, head of Marketing at OpenCloud

We can expect M&A discussions to be aplenty at Mobile World Congress, as operators look to acquire content providers, following the trend set by AT&T’s purchase of Time Warner this year. TV and streaming services are no longer just the remit of broadcasters and OTT players. Mobile operators will begin to offer unique content packages, as they shift to a multi-play business model, providing content services at any time, to subscribers anywhere.

Operators will not create their own content, but through strategic partnerships and acquisitions will acquire a range of exclusive content, offering it to subscribers as a way to differentiate their propositions. Subscribers will start selecting operators based on the content that they provide (for example, choosing sports, TV or film packages). This will help to attract and retain customers, and provide an additional revenue source for multi-play operators.

Enterprises start chatting

Silvio Kutic, CEO of Infobip

At MWC this year, we’ll see bolder moves from instant messaging apps as they enter the A2P messaging space. Internet brands have dominated consumer messaging with the likes of WhatsApp, Line, and Viber, all focused on person-to-person (P2P) communication. The next step will be to open their APIs to enterprises.

Brands are starting to adopt multichannel and omnichannel strategies to better engage customers and drive sales, with a growing number of companies looking to add a ‘sexy’ messaging app to their marketing mix.

For OTT companies to succeed in the A2P messaging space, many will seek partnerships with established business messaging providers.

Telecom regulators will focus on network quality

Cam Cullen, VP Global Marketing at Procera Networks

Both the FCC in the US and BEREC in Europe have issued guidance that asks telecom operators to detail the actual QoE delivered to subscribers on their networks – including throughput, latency, and packet loss for all service plans. Consumers are becoming more sophisticated in how they use broadband and more sensitive to network disruption as a result, especially if it leads to slow social networking, stuttering video streaming, or laggy gaming. As more and more consumers rely exclusively on their broadband connections for video and voice services, regulators will go a step further and be pulled into mandating quality measurements for operators.