Informa Telecoms & Media’s Analysts have identified eight key themes to look out for at this year’s Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona.
• 4G – Dario Talmesio
By end-2013, 4G will account for just 1.9% of global mobile connections; US, Japan and South Korea continue to lead the way but finally Europe will make an assertive push into LTE. It is only by end-2017 that 4G will exceed 10% of global connections.
But is 4G making money? Arguably not enough. 4G needs smarter pricing to make business sense of these vast investments. The features are there – capacity, latency, speed – and new pricing paradigms are surfacing but in future we need more imaginative approaches, including monetization of OTT services.
• Healthcare – Sheridan Nye
Over 70% of the world’s leading MNOs are investing in mhealth services, according to Informa’s Enterprise Verticals Activity Monitor. But when will these investments pay off? So far, health-sector regulation and financial incentives have failed to keep pace with technology. In contrast, consumers are already downloading thousands of “fitness and wellness” apps to their smartphones. But will consumers accept the MNO brand in the context of personal health? Instead, should operators exploit their enabling expertise in security and aggregation of mhealth data?
• Digital services – Mark Newman
Telecom operators are pursuing a number of different strategies to develop new revenue streams from digital services. They include M2M, cloud services, OTT communications and media and a whole range of different vertical sectors. But can operators acquire the skills and develop the business models to generate revenues beyond connectivity? Informa Telecoms & Media estimates that operators generated $20 billion in revenues from digital services in 2012, equivalent to just 2% of the total global mobile operator revenues.