April 25, 2013 Guvenc Kaplan

The Future Outlook Beyond MWC 2013

Didem Karabatur, Marketing Director, Telenity

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Mobile World Congress (MWC), the most comprehensive and popular global mobile show, took place for a consecutive 8th time in Barcelona, Spain during February 24 – 28, 2013 in its new venue, Fira Gran Via. The move of the venue to the Gran Via proved to be the right choice as the event experienced an increased number of exhibitors and visitors placing even more strong confidence in the growth of the mobile industry.

According to GSMA’s announcement, the event was a huge success with record-breaking attendance for a consecutive third year. With over 72,000 unique visitors from 200 countries attending the conference sessions and walking the floors of the exhibition areas, Mobile World Congress continued be the place where industry leaders come to advance business. The show was home to dedicated tracks on Applications, Cloud Computing, Big Data, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Health, Mobile Money/Payment, Customer Experience Management (CEM), Location Based Services, M2M (Machine-to-Machine), next-generation technologies and OSS/BSS, as well as sessions exploring business strategy, developing markets, devices, network capacity and optimization, regional issues and social media, among other subjects.

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MWC continues to be a major industry indicator that gives us the pulse and direction of the mobile industry for the year ahead. This year again, MWC provided us valuable insight into the mobile trends of the months to come. Despite the economic uncertainty of the past years, it was clear at MWC 2013 that the mobile industry is doing well and will continue to grow in 2013 across various demographic levels and broad range of market places.
According to a study by AT Kearney and GSMA, at the end of 2012 there were 6.8 billion mobile connections worldwide, a figure that is expected to grow to 9.7 billion by the end of 2017. This corresponds to 3.2 billion unique mobile users worldwide in 2012 reaching 3.9 billion in the next five years. In line with this, the mobile ecosystem revenues are expected to grow from USD 1.6 trillion in 2012 to USD 2 trillion in 2017, equating to a CAGR of 5%.

This growth is expected to come more and more from data consumption through applications around connected devices in verticals (such as healthcare, automotive, utilities, home automation), rather than regular and more traditional forms of mobile communication. As such, it was no surprise that one of the most discussed topics of the event continued to be Machine-to-Machine (M2M – objects wirelessly communicating with each other through embedded sensors and other devices) solutions, specifically in relation to connected living. As new partnerships and technical standards develop, we’ll surely start seeing more consumer-facing M2M applications in the market.

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Mobility is getting more and more embedded in our daily lives and integrated into our workplaces with ever ongoing innovation on the device side as displayed at MWC. On the service side operators need to stay focused on innovation in strategic areas, especially around vertical industries, cloud computing and “big” actionable data with emphasis on customer experience management. The growing array of data services around location, mobile marketing, and others provides tremendous value to subscribers and creates value for all of the companies in the mobile ecosystem. As the consumer market matures, “connected things” and enterprise services offer new growth opportunities.

[blockquote_right] In a GSMA press release after the event, John Hoffman, CEO of GSMA Ltd. said, “We are thrilled with the record results for Mobile World Congress 2013, in our first year here in Fira Gran Via. Mobile is one of the most vibrant and dynamic industries in the world, and the innovation that is powering the sector was clearly evident throughout Mobile World Congress, in the exhibition, the conference, programs such as App Planet and mPowered Brands and new event initiatives such as the NFC Experience.” [/blockquote_right] These trends highlight the importance of maintaining a reliable and intelligent network that can be easily and securely exposed to partners by the mobile operators. To address the market expectations, it is crucial for mobile operators to have the right set of service delivery components such as Partner Management, Connectivity Management and Service Enablement that open up their mobile network to a large ecosystem of business and technology partners. They need to turn their network into an effective Business-to-Business (B2B) and Business-to-Consumer (B2C) platform that supports a wide range of applications and services with multi-sided business models.

Network Optimization continued to be a hot topic at this year’s event. With increased mobile Internet and data demand, there is growing pressure on bandwidth that puts mobile operators in the hot seat to close the gap between supply and demand. The challenge remains in prioritizing new 3G capacity rollouts based on smarter decisions regarding their existing network assets and investments in new 4G/LTE infrastructure.

The MWC has confirmed that we will have a very exciting year ahead of us. The mobile industry will see more collaboration from players in all segments to provide technologically advanced and pragmatic solutions to consumers and enterprises. The opportunities are huge and the possibilities are endless for all players.