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Jouko Ahvenainen

March 06, 2017

Mobile World Congress has always been a place to publish new technology, but the focus has been on larger corporations and really hardcore technology components, not typically new business innovations or startups that can disrupt a market. Now it looks like MWC is getting a more important role in these kinds of innovations too, in particular 4YFN is finally finding its market position.

MWC has had many models to activate young innovative companies to come there. The main hall space is typically too expensive for smaller companies. Many countries have their own departments where... MORE

March 03, 2017

Fintech has become an important topic at Mobile World Congress too. This year we saw big finance institutions, startups and also companies from other verticals offer some fintech products. But the products we see in Barcelona are more elements and building blocks, not proper larger solutions. Some areas of fintech are already quite crowded and some other components are largely missing.

Payment products and components were probably the most popular fintech application at the event. Some products are really a full offering to make payments, and some are more enablers, for example, to... MORE

March 01, 2017

It’s again time to see what really happens at Mobile World Congress. The official announcements have included new handsets, 5G, IoT and big data. People are talking about the Nokia 3310, how carriers could transform from bit-pipes to something else and how networks wouldn’t include only intelligence, but artificial intelligence soon. But the event is much more than the official announcements, it is interesting discussions, observations and revealing details. I tried to pick you some of these.

Many mobile phone manufacturers have new models at MWC. Of course, Apple and Google are... MORE

February 13, 2017

On February 9 Nokia announced its intention to acquire Comptel, a listed Finnish company. Five years earlier Comptel acquired a data analytics company called Xtract. I was one of the founders of Xtract. We founded it in 2001 and built it to conduct world-class advanced data analytics. This is a story about success with paying customers, investors, revenue growth and exits, but at the same time this is a story about lost opportunities that illustrate the whole telco industry. I hope, for example, the finance industry can learn from this.

In October 2001 a few smart guys and myself... MORE

January 23, 2017

I have just traveled in Asia. I had to coordinate many meetings, and many contacts said “this is my number, let’s exchange details in WhatsApp, what’s your number?” The problem is that I have several phones and also, when I travel, I buy local pre-paid cards. So, I’m almost always online, but I don’t know the phone number beforehand. Why we still are stuck with these phone numbers?

Years ago, when I worked for Nokia Networks, I learned something about telephone numbering. Or almost too much, including its history, numbering schemas, and how it must be compatible with all kind of... MORE

January 09, 2017

Recently I looked at Vertu phones in a luxury shop at the Frankfurt airport. They were sold for half the price. I know people who liked them years ago, but now I don’t know anyone who has talked about them, and definitely no one who has bought them recently. I also checked the latest Apple Watches - quite expensive, but not really a popular luxury yet. At the same time Montblanc, Omega and Philippe Patek were selling more expensive normal watches at the same airport. Why it is so difficult to create high tech luxury products?

Over 20 years ago in internal strategy papers and... MORE

December 08, 2016

This year didn’t bring much new in the telecoms and mobile device businesses, it was just more organic development, nothing really new or game changing. The network side is waiting for 5G. The explosive Samsung Galaxy Note 7 was probably the handset that got most attention in 2016, and that really says something about how many new innovations there were in the market. Mobile payment solutions started to grow. In 2017 we cannot foresee much more innovation or disruption, but maybe the operating system and manufacturing race will enter a new phase.

Ericsson, Nokia and Huawei dominate... MORE

November 25, 2016

Hong Kong held its fintech week in early November and last week Singapore organized maybe the biggest fintech event in the world: the Singapore Fintech Festival. Fintech means many kinds of technology solutions and disruption for the finance industry. Now it has started to have impact on Asia too. And Asia has opportunities to become the center of fintech globally.

In practice fintech means many services, e.g. mobile payments, online money transfers, online lending and investing services, robo-advisors, digital investment banks, and real estate crowdfunding. It is not only new... MORE