Mobile World Congress 2012 (MWC) promises to reveal further progress made by operators on their journey to profitability. A growing realization of their role and influence in the ecosystem will be apparent at the event, as will a more open approach to capitalizing on revenue and cost-saving opportunities. However, MWC 2012 will not see telcos arriving at the world "which is to come". The work required in customer experience management shows that there is still a long way to go, but it is evident that telcos are beginning to find the way.
Moving on from the data Vanity Fair
The progress made by operators in responding to the increase in mobile data traffic will be interesting to note at this year's event. Operators are beginning to set aside old assumptions, prejudices, and ways of doing business. While there is no doubt that we will hear a lot about quality of service in relation to monetizing data traffic, this will be less antagonistic than in the past.
We also expect to see more evidence of maturity and pragmatism from operators, and fewer demands that everyone must play by their rules. Operators' growing realization of their position in the ecosystem means that the watchwords at MWC will be "partnership" and "co-operation" as telcos look to minimize the impact that mobile data traffic growth will have on their profitability. Although there will be more LTE announcements, we do not expect LTE to be portrayed as the ultimate answer to operators' problems. Instead, it will be one part of the wider solution.
– Steven Hartley, Telco Strategy
Wi-Fi becomes part of the mobile highway
Wi-Fi will be a major infrastructure theme at this year’s MWC. There have already been several product announcements prior to the conference, highlighted by Alcatel-Lucent's lightRadio Wi-Fi introduction. However, the biggest Wi-Fi story at the event will be Ericsson's major endorsement of the technology, which has been demonstrated by its recent acquisition of BelAir Networks. While Wi-Fi was once merely tolerated by the mobile community, this year’s event will fully cement the technology as an integral part of mobile operators’ infrastructure strategies.
– Daryl Schoolar, Networks & Infrastructure
Telcos put their faith in innovation
Innovation will yet again be a buzzword at this year's event. Whether it is from the telcos themselves, the numerous vendors hoping to partner with telcos, or the over-the-top players that can afford to go it alone, we expect the conference to be awash with new product and service launches. We are particularly keen to see innovations that leverage the telcos' core capabilities in other areas.
– Emeka Obiodu, Telco Strategy
A focus on payment to lighten the burden
Ovum expects to see a slew of mobile payment-related announcements at this year's event, spanning new services, devices, and partnerships. Hot spots will undoubtedly include near-field communications, which, due to increasing device support, is finally starting to look feasible after a number of false starts. Mobile wallets have increased in popularity over the past year, and MWC will see more activity in this increasingly competitive market as operators battle for prime position. We also expect to see innovation in services that add value to the core payment proposition, particularly mobile advertising, marketing, and social- and location-based applications.
– Eden Zoller, Consumer
CEP: Telcos still have some way to go to reach the Celestial City
Customer experience management will be the buzzword for many of the IT vendors at this year's conference. While the term is perhaps becoming over-used, this only serves to demonstrate just how much work is still required for telcos to meet their customers' service expectations. Beyond the usual OSS and BSS announcements, we expect to see significant activity around software tools that provide stakeholders across the telco (and even third parties) with better visibility, both into the internal workings of the business and into the wealth of customer data that is held therein.
– Mark Giles, Telco operations